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The Relationship Between Gender and Promotion Over the Business Cycle: Does Firm Size Matter?

Saridakis, George; Ferreira, Priscila; Mohammed, Anne-Marie; Marlow, Susan


George Saridakis

Priscila Ferreira

Anne-Marie Mohammed

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation


This paper offers a more nuanced analysis of employee promotion decisions; specifically, how they are affected by firm size, gender and stages within the business cycle. Drawing on data from Portugal, we find that during times of adverse macroeconomic conditions, promotion prospects in all firms decline. Within large firms, women are more likely to be promoted during economic downturns, reflecting the ‘glass cliff’ hypothesis. In small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), overall promotion rates are less affected by adverse economic conditions, however, women are less likely to attain promotions. Our results emphasize the importance of market volatility and firm heterogeneity in promotion and importantly, reveal differing forms of gender discrimination. In large firms women are, in effect, afforded greater responsibility for the effects of market volatility whilst SMEs invest more confidence in male employees to manage during crises.


Saridakis, G., Ferreira, P., Mohammed, A., & Marlow, S. (2022). The Relationship Between Gender and Promotion Over the Business Cycle: Does Firm Size Matter?. British Journal of Management, 33(2), 806-827.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 12, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 29, 2021
Publication Date 2022-04
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 30, 2023
Journal British Journal of Management
Print ISSN 1045-3172
Electronic ISSN 1467-8551
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 2
Pages 806-827
Keywords Promotions, firm size, gender, economic crisis, Portugal JEL classification: C33; J21; L25 1
Public URL
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