Four ‘sure bets’ for the New Year

Associate Dean Sydney Finkelstein; BBC Capital, January 9, 2014

Find Finkelstein's entire BBC Capital column here.

More women will break the glass ceiling of the C-suite in major companies

I hope this one is not wishful thinking. In the Fortune 500 there are just 23 female CEOs — not a big number. But, that number is higher than it was just a year ago. In the last year giant companies like General Motors, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics have promoted women to the very top job. The CEOs of IBM, PepsiCo, Hewlett-Packard, and Yahoo are also women.

It’s possible that my prediction on women may be aggressive, but it’s the one prediction I believe will be on everyone’s list for years to come. Just take a look at those who are excelling in high schools and universities, especially in the United States. Much of the new wave of talent coming into the workforce is female, which will surely create ongoing ripples for years to come. Coupled with (slowly) changing attitudes — at least in the most developed countries — about the role of women, and you have a movement.

Bob Dylan’s song Ballad of a Thin Man includes the refrain: “Something is happening here/But you don't know what it is/Do you, Mr. Jones?” Like many Dylan songs, its literal meaning is opaque, yet it seems appropriate as a descriptor of the changes afoot in the C-suite, in 2014 and for years to come.

You can count on it.

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