Hey ladies, want to be a CEO? Play a sport

What influences a female executive’s hiring decision? Yes, it’s talent, experience, drive and motivation of a candidate. But three out of four female executives say that candidates who play a sport are looked at more favorably in the hiring process.

Ernst and Young’s Women Athletes Business Network and EspnW did an online survey of 400 female managers, half of whom were C-level executives (CEOs, CFOs, COOs, etc.,) and found that many of them had athletic accolades themselves. A total of 52 percent of the C-level women had played a sport at their university, compared to 39 percent of women at other levels. Only 3 percent of women who were top executives had no athletic background.

Maybe it was their own bias of knowing the lessons they learned while they trained for hours, or the surge of adrenaline after a victory, or how to handle losing the big game, but the women surveyed were more likely to say women with sports backgrounds made good employees.

Also, at every management level, women pointed to sports figures as their role models most often. Michael Jordan and his sports peers were named more often than family members, celebrities or elected officials.

“This study confirms the significant role participating in sports plays in providing the tools necessary to succeed in the competitive world in which we live,” Donna de Varona, lead advisor to Ernst & Young’s Women Athletes Business Network, said in the report. “Yet again, these results underscore how critical it is for girls to have equal access to sport around the world. When they do, the positive results are undeniable.”

Do you think playing a sport delivers better business acumen?

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