by Sara Bean
Originally published: June 13, 2016
With less than 10 percent of FTSE 100 companies in this country having a female CEO, a cross party group of MPs from the Women and Equalities Select Committee have been enquiring into ways of increasing the significant under-representation of women at executive levels. The introduction of quotas and regulation has been suggested to address this lack of gender diversity. In its submission to the committee consultant’s Mercer argue that although measures such as quotas can have a visible impact in the short term, the most effective and sustainable way of getting women into senior and executive roles is by focusing on growing and developing a pipeline of female talent in an enabling and supportive environment, tailored to their unique skill-sets, financial, and health needs. Its recently launched study ‘When women thrive, businesses thrive’ shows that senior women leave at much higher rates than men, which supports our argument that the prevailing business culture doesn’t support working mothers.
The report highlighted the greatest barriers to women achieving senior positions, which included a lack of engagement on gender diversity by senior leaders and men. In the UK only 43 percent of companies say their board members are engaged in diversity and inclusion (D&I) and only 31 percent of line managers. Furthermore only 43 percent of companies said their male employees are engaged in D&I activities.
“If we keep doing what we’re doing it will take decades to achieve true gender equality, we need firm action, supported by senior leadership,” said Fiona Dunsire, Mercer’s UK CEO.