New research by Ernst & Young has indicated that females who participate in sport during their school and university education are more likely to become influential business executives.

According to the global report, 90 per cent of the women it surveyed were involved in sporting activities either at primary and secondary school, or during university or other tertiary education. This proportion rose to 96 per cent among women currently holding a 'C-suite' position.

The consulting firm also found that a far higher proportion of C-suite females had participated in sports at a higher level, especially at university or as a working adult, when compared with other female managers.

Almost seven in ten (67 per cent) of women now occupying a C-level position had participated in sports as a working adult, compared with 55 per cent of females in other management roles.

Commenting on the findings, Ernst & Young's global vice chair of public policy Beth Brooke told Forbes: "I find it fascinating that sport has such a strong connection to success in business.

"Arguably C-suite women are some of the most successful women, and more than half of them played at a more advanced level than just the general population of women in business."

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