Study: Women CEOs are more likely to face termination than men

Women that negotiate for promotions were also found to receive feedback that branded them as “intimidating”, “too aggressive” or “bossy.”

Women CEOs are still subject to discrimination irrespective of the success of their company, according to a new study, published in Journal Management, which observed 641 CEO dismissals between 2000 and 2014.

The study defined “dismissal” as the termination of an employee younger than sixty that wasn’t informed by health issues or the acceptance of another position. The data concluded that women CEOs were 45% more likely to be dismissed than male CEOs.

Both were found to be as likely to be fired if the company was performing poorly but when the firm was performing well more women CEOs were consistently dismissed.

Business Insider suspects implicit bias to be a potential factor with the inclusion of a link to a piece written by reporter Rachel Gillet. Only eight out of the 100 most loved CEOs are women.  Additionally, women that negotiate for promotions were found to receive feedback that branded them as “intimidating”, “too aggressive” or “bossy.”

It’s not all grim business, however

Last Friday NBC News revealed that 2018 saw 175 women replace male CEOs and about 52% of open chief executive slots were filled by women.  It must be said that these numbers give considerably less cause for optimism when observed against the big picture: fewer than 5% of Fortune 500 companies are lead by women (these companies experienced a 25% drop in female CEOs as recently as last year).

2018 saw the number of women CEOS increase dramatically; a record 264 women replacement CEOS were appointed out of the 1,183 studied which accounts for roughly 22%– an admirable improvement from 2017’s 18%.

On the subject, Challenger, Gray Vice President Andrew Challenger had this to say:

“The rate of women CEO replacements has risen steadily since 2014. It’s the highest rate of women CEO replacements since we began tracking gender data in 2013. As companies grapple with increased awareness surrounding gender equality issues, such as pay parity and eliminating sexual harassment and gender discrimination, they appear to be hiring and promoting women candidates into the top role. This is crucial to creating an environment where bullying and harassment based on gender is eliminated.”

A promising omen for the start of 2019.

CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.