Foreign job postings slow the climb up the corporate ladder for executives, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management, which ended on Tuesday.
A chief executive without an overseas work background reaches the top job about two years sooner than those who went abroad, said Monika Hamori, professor of management at IE Business School in Madrid. The more assignments and the longer time spent outside the home organization, the longer it takes, she said. “The results show that executives with international assignment experience take longer to reach the top echelon,” said Hamori, who with IE colleague Burak Koyuncu studied the careers of chief executives at companies on the S&P 500 and Financial Times Europe 500 indices.
“Our findings suggest that you advance faster if you are in proximity to the corporate headquarters’ social networks than if you are on assignment abroad.” With a few exceptions, foreign divisions represent the periphery, far from companies’ centers of power, she said. The average chief executive is appointed to the top job in 24.83 years from the start of his or her career but those with international assignments take 1.96 years longer than those without international experience, the researchers found. “Do it for a year or two, do it when you’re young and don’t switch companies when you get back,” said Hamori.
One third of the chief executives in the study had international assignments.