- What's the most common route from employee to CEO? LinkedIn traced the path many CEOs took on their way to leading the C-suite and found that most were computer science majors, followed by economics and business; the majority attended Stanford University, followed by Penn State University and Harvard Business School; and they were consultants in their first jobs, followed by software engineer and analyst. LinkedIn used insights from 12,000 CEOs from 20 countries on its platform.
- LinkedIn says a consultant position prepares CEOs well, because the position involves the kind of problem-solving that company heads use every day. Also, most CEOs (72%) were directors at some point in their career. Some were promoted internally, but a majority (80%) came from outside their organizations.
- Although school choices, majors, first jobs and directorships can be good indicators of a would-be CEOs potential, LinkedIn says it's not pedigree that makes someone rise to the top of a company, but, instead, their ability to inspire others, handle complicated problems and prove their abilities at each stage in their career.
LinkedIn's statistics may be interesting but their usefulness may be limited for companies hoping to improve diversity and inclusion. The position, generally, is known for its lack of diversity: Only three African Americans and 24 women currently run Fortune 500 companies.
Recent research indicates that a workforce requires different perspectives, viewpoints and orientations if an organization, its culture and brand is to thrive and remain competitive. And diversity and inclusion must start at the top, which is why PwC CEO Tim Ryan has called for other company chiefs to make diversity a top priority.
Today's CEOs face new challenges, namely seeing that they have the technology, skilled talent, resources and management team in place to move their organizations forward and prepare for the impending tech disruption that may precipitate the future of work. As a result, LinkedIn's recommendation that employers focus on abilities may be more important that ever.