Women And Minorities Often Don’t Last Long In High-Ranking Positions

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July 30, 2013 ‐ By Kimberly Gedeon
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Even if women and minorities do burst through corporate blockades to score a job as a CEO, many of them find themselves quickly fired from these high-ranking positions and replaced by the usual White male placeholder, reports the Standard.

Women and minorities selected as CEOs are most likely the scapegoat for the companies’ failures and less likely to be praised for the companies’ good days, according to new research by Utah State University. “Companies’ common response is to think they need a ‘corporate savior,’ a white male, and give him longer to produce results” says Christy Glass, a researcher of the study.

While many qualified women and minorities are getting comfortable in their new position, little do they know that some are plotting against them to frame them as failures. While they’ve overstepped barriers and crashed through the glass ceiling, many are often thrown off the glass cliff—“a newer term [that] describes the exit point for women and minorities fired from top ranks,” adds the Standard.

Many of the high-ranking spots women and minorities hold are risky positions. A white male is more likely to decline such positions for fear it would hurt his reputation whereas women and minorities see these positions as a stepping stone in their career.

Previous research by the same team analyzed NCAA sports and discovered that racial minority coaches are usually hired by sports teams that are doing poorly. “When teams see no quick improvements, minority coaches are replaced with white coaches,” Standard adds. On average, minority coaches lasted a year less than white coaches.

“[W]omen and minorities on their boards are more likely to be open to diversity in top leadership positions,” Alison Cook, another researcher of the study, says. Cook says white males in corporate America just want someone who looks like them as their top-ranking employee.

For change, Alison Cook suggests employers change their recruitment process at lower levels to hire more diverse staff. This will allow women and minorities to rise up to the top rather than being placed there in a tenuous position.

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  • NYC Gal

    I agree with this survey! The only black woman I know that is still in her position is Ursula Burns – CEO at Xerox. That is only bcos she’s replaced another woman.

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