Study: Women more likely to shy away from executive roles if they've been rejected in the past

Women account for 40 percent of the global workforce, yet they hold only 24 percent of senior management jobs around the world. The figure shrinks even smaller at the top of corporations. Only 5 percent of CEOs of S&P 500 firms are women, according to data cited by the Harvard Business Review.

Researchers have come up with various reasons for the vast gender disparity in senior leadership, ranging from explicit discrimination to promotion processes that are built to favor men. However, one factor is that women are not as likely as men to seek leadership roles through promotions, job transfers and high-profile assignments, according to the report.

Although previous studies have found women begin their careers with equal levels of ambition as men, they eventually tend to shy away from competing for higher level jobs. Some assume the reason is because they are risk averse, lack confidence or their goals shift.

However, a study of more than 10,000 senior executives who were competing for top management jobs in the U.K. found that women were much less likely to apply for a job if they'd been rejected from a similar job in the past. While men were also less likely to apply following rejection, the effect was 1.5 times stronger for women, according to the report.

To read more about the study and its findings, click here.

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