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Want to become a CEO? Here’s how, according to LinkedIn

Source | World Economic Forum 

Conventional wisdom says hard work, brains and leadership ability are what you need to get to the top of the corporate ladder. And perhaps a stroke of luck – being in the right place at the right time when a promotion comes up.

But new research suggests that other factors might help you along the road to the C-suite.

LinkedIn looked at the career paths of around 459,000 members globally who had worked at top management consultancy firms between 1990 and 2010. Of these, about 64,000 – roughly 14% – became partners of big companies, VPs, or C-level executives.

The data unearthed some interesting findings about career progression.

  Probability of success vs choices

Image: LinkedIn

Here are the highlights:

Experience in different areas of the business. A management consultant who spends time working in, for example, marketing or finance, or both, or other business functions, improves their chances of securing a senior executive role.

Time spent in each extra job function provided career progress equivalent to around three years of work experience.

“Working across job functions, like marketing or finance, provides the well-rounded understanding of business operations that are needed to become an executive,” writes Guy Berger, an economist at LinkedIn and co-author of the study.

Changing companies within an industry offered a small boost, but switching industries had a negative impact, which may be an indication of the value of building up experience and relationships.

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