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Increasing Gender Diversity in Higher Education Leadership: The Role of Executive Search Firms

Oxford Brookes University Business School, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 168;
Received: 3 February 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 1 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women and Leadership in Higher Education)
Women are under-represented in leadership roles in United Kingdom Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Existing scholarship focuses on institutional barriers, which include cognitive bias and entrenched homosocial cultures, rather than external factors such as the use of executive search firms (ESFs) in recruitment and selection. Recent research indicates that the use of ESFs is increasing for senior HEI appointments. This analysis offers insights on these firms’ involvement from a gender equality perspective, based on the results from a study that used a ‘virtuous circle’ approach to research and knowledge exchange. The requirement for HEIs to pay ‘due regard’ to equality considerations under the Public Sector Equality Duty provides a framework for analysis. This paper provides new insights on the dynamics within recruitment processes when ESFs are involved and on how a legislative approach can leverage better equality outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: gender; executive search; higher education; equality duty gender; executive search; higher education; equality duty
MDPI and ACS Style

Manfredi, S.; Clayton-Hathway, K.; Cousens, E. Increasing Gender Diversity in Higher Education Leadership: The Role of Executive Search Firms. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 168.

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