New research in the US has found that women working in a high ranking position in a company are more often fired than their male counterparts.
A survey by Strategy& found that two out of three times women are “pushed off the glass cliff”, where as men are only done so a quarter of the time.
Even though this research was based on US statistics, American female CEOs still out number Australian female CEOs, 4% to 3%.
In 2012 the ABS released a report on Australian Social Trends, focusing women in leadership. It found within the top 200 ASX companies only 3% of boards had a woman as chair, and only seven companies had a female Chief Executive Officer.
Terry Fitzsimmons, senior lecturer at University of Queensland Business School, told the Women and Leadership Australia conference in Perth this week corporate that women remain behind the eight ball despite the issue’s prominence in studies and the media.
“Women make up nearly 60% of educated Australians so it’s not a pipeline issue. At this rate it will take 300 years to get to 50/50 in Australia, so something has to change. This is not seen as a problem so nothing is being done.
“We know the issues but have not seen a change… and they are soluble,” he said.
While the result from the study sounds like bad news for women trying to get the top jobs, Gary Neilson, co-author of the report, believes the data in fact shows an improving situation.
“The data is clear – being an outsider is a tough situation,” Neilson says, but companies better developing internal female executive talent, rather than sourcing from outside the company. Women may be forced out of companies faster, but they are entering faster than they are exiting. The situation is, he says, improving rapidly – “but from a very small base”.
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