Women get to break through glass ceiling to senior management but only to do dirty jobs

Business leaders are more likely to appoint a woman to a senior-level post during times of crisis and poor performance than their male colleagues, according to a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

However, the CIPD-commissioned study by Exeter University found that, as women are more readily appointed to tough roles during times of change, they are at greater risk of suffering from the “set up to fail” syndrome than men.

Dianah Worman, CIPD diversity adviser, said: “Due to the limited opportunities open to female leaders, many are forced to take the more difficult jobs in organisations with a history of poor performance, perpetuating the myth that women are poor performers in senior positions, and covering up the true extent of discrimination for the most desirable senior management positions.

“But the growth in the number of successful small businesses owned by women goes some way to indicate their business and leadership capabilities and highlights the talent other large organisations are missing. So old-fashioned attitudes are not only unfair and discriminatory towards women but they leave organisations shooting themselves in the foot.”

The Change Agenda, Women in the boardroom: the risks of being at the top report included more than 80 employers.

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