Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics

No 08-21: Gender differences in promotion into top-management jobs

Linda Bell , Nina Smith (), Valdemar Smith () and Mette Verner ()
Additional contact information
Linda Bell: Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: Frichshuset Hermodsvej 22, 8230 Åbyhøj, Denmark
Nina Smith: Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: Frichshuset Hermodsvej 22, 8230 Åbyhøj, Denmark
Valdemar Smith: Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: The Aarhus School of Business, Frichshuset Hermodsvej 22, 8230 Åbyhøj, Denmark
Mette Verner: Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: Frichshuset Hermodsvej 22, 8230 Åbyhøj, Denmark

Abstract: In this paper the promotion process of top executive officers (CEOs) in Danish private firms is analysed. The main research question to be analysed is whether the lower chances for women to become promoted into top management jobs are mainly attributable to individual background characteristics and special focus is given to the effects of family related variables. The descriptive statistics suggest that the family background (marital status, number of children, spouse labour force participation, education and occupation) differs substantially by gender of individuals in top management. Furthermore, we will try to detect whether women in women-led companies are more likely to be promoted than women in firms managed by men only. The regression results show that the child variables have different effects for women (none) than for men (positive). This is interpreted as evidence of statistical discrimination of women, as the (potential) negative effect of children and parental leave behaviour is included in the constant term and hence applies to all women in the pool of potentials. Furthermore, males’ career opportunities are declining if the wife is working, whereas the women’s careers are only affected if their husbands have a high level occupation. The results also suggest that women employed in women-led firms are more likely to be promoted than in the case of not women-led firms.

Keywords: Promotion process; Gender differences; Top management

JEL-codes: J30; J70

26 pages, January 1, 2008

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