Press release:

Labour’s Angela Rayner joins business leaders to call for bold action to improve working lives

Friday 10 May 2024

London - Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner joined a host of business leaders in London at the Chartered Management Institute’s annual CMI Women Conference. This year’s Conference theme focused on scrutinising and debating the authenticity of inclusion efforts in the workplace.

Alongside board members and C-Suite executives from companies including Marks & Spencer, Virgin Money,  Pizza Hut, and the FTSE Women Leaders Review, Rayner set out Labour’s plans to strengthen workers’ rights, including measures to ensure employers play their part in preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Beyond new regulations and laws, the CMI has called on employers to invest in training and upskilling their managers at every level in order to deliver better working lives for individuals and improve productivity for employers through better retention and recruitment efforts and ensuring safe and resilient workplace cultures.

Topics explored on the day included the role that managers can play in improving the working lives of those in insecure work, the challenges of managing multi-generational teams and how leaders and managers can identify barriers to creating workplaces that are more representative of the wider population - including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Previous CMI research found that those with formal management training are significantly more likely to feel comfortable calling out bad behaviour, to trust their teams and to be better equipped to have challenging conversations when things go wrong.

Diverse representation in British business has been lagging for decades. Currently, none of the FTSE 100 companies have black individuals serving as board chairs, CEOs, CFOs, or CPOs. There are only 10 companies led by female chief executives in the FTSE 100, the top 100 listed businesses, and not one CEO had a declared disability.

Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition, and Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, Communities & Local Government, said:

Better workplaces mean better productivity. CMI’s own research found that 80% of managers think that strengthening workers' rights boosts productivity.   Empowering women and giving them the tools to thrive improves retention, as well as recruitment giving [organisations] a better and brighter talent pool to choose from.

Ann Francke OBE, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute, said:

A growing body of evidence shows the business and productivity benefits of diverse and inclusive workplaces. However, we are seeing a worrying narrative emerging that questions the value of there being different voices, from different backgrounds, in the room. All of the evidence tells us that skilled managers do make a difference, that navigating complex issues around representation needs both personal commitment and professional training.

An enduring under-investment in management across the UK economy, and rapid changes to our economy, environment, and society, means that addressing the many complex factors that can stall inclusive growth is more important than ever before.

Tamara Box, chair of CMI Women, Managing Partner, EME, at Reed Smith LLP and experienced Non-Executive Director, said:

Once again, the CMI Women Conference has welcomed key voices in the public debate around how we deliver growth that brings all of our society along. Economic growth that does not include those from minority communities, the disabled, women and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds is not going to address the UK’s productivity challenges in a meaningful way and, moreover, is not going to create the wider society that we seek.

Providing an open and welcoming forum for views from such a diverse range of leaders is crucial if we are to work together to deliver that growth and I am proud that CMI Women has been able to convene such highly relevant discussions - and to do so with such positivity and mutual respect, even when viewpoints may differ.


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About the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The Chartered Management Institute is the professional body for managers and leaders. We have a membership community of over 200,000 aspiring and practising managers and more than 150,000 people are currently studying on one of our management and leadership programmes. Our Royal Charter defines our charitable mission as increasing the number and standard of professionally qualified managers and leaders.