Getting In, Getting On, Getting Out
Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden
Chapter 8: ‘This is just the way it is’: executive search and gendered careers
In this chapter, we explore gendered careers in management with a particular focus on executive search. We highlight the ways in which executive search consultants – or headhunters, as they are commonly known – describe the search process and make sense of the persistent lack of women in top business positions. As professional service providers, executive search consultants are influential in the contemporary global economy. Recruitment of key individuals in companies, as well as public sector and not-for-profit organizations, is increasingly carried out with the confidential help of external experts. Executive search consultants assist decision-makers in identifying, evaluating, and recruiting competent and suitable people for their top positions (Coverdill and Finlay, 1998). In so doing, they act as gatekeepers in elite labour markets (Faulconbridge et al., 2009). On a general level it is well established that executive search sustains the powerful position of white men in business life (Dreher et al., 2011; Doldor et al., 2012).
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