The search for the missing middle: CMI Women launches in hunt for true gender diversity

29 November 2016 -


The UK needs 1.5 million new women managers by 2024 to achieve gender parity. Here’s how CMI’s Blueprint for Balance can help you make a difference

Matt Scott

CMI Women launches today with the aim of achieving gender parity across the UK’s management population by 2024, and to help employers unlock more value in the UK’s workforce to address our productivity gap.

The UK economy needs two million new managers for it to achieve predicted growth, and CMI Women aims to address this by helping employers identify the measures they can take to achieve gender balance, such as flexible working policies, line manager skills development, mentoring and balanced recruitment.

The Missing Middle

The problem for many organisations is the ‘missing middle’. While women out-number men at junior levels, not enough make it through middle management and to the top of an organisation.

CMI’s 2016 National Management Salary Survey shows that while 73% of entry-level roles are occupied by women, this reduces to just 43% of women in middle management roles.

Read More: Inspiring Women on breaking the glass pyramid

It has been shown that improving diversity could add as much as $12 trillion annually to the global economy and £150 billion a year to the UK economy alone in 2025.

Research from Credit Suisse has also found that gender-diverse management teams deliver an 18% return on investment premium, while McKinsey found that diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their competitors.

A blueprint for balance

To achieve a 50/50 split of management jobs between men and women by 2024, UK Plc will need 1.5 million new female managers, but today there are over half a million ‘missing’ women from management.

Unfortunately the future doesn’t currently look much better – on today’s diversity forecasts we will still have 480,000 women missing from UK management in 2024.

To address these issues, CMI has launched CMI Women and created a Blueprint for Balance, an innovative open source tool that helps organisations achieve 50/50 management.

The tool is a free online resource that allows employers to share information and learn how others have improved gender balance in their organisations.

CMI CEO Ann Francke said: “Unlocking the ‘missing middle’ of women managers is essential as UK businesses face up to the challenge of tackling the productivity gap that currently leaves us lagging 21% behind our G7 competitors. In the run up to Brexit we must do everything we can to support business growth to ensure the UK can stand alone, and it’s clear that women are still the primary untapped resource in the workplace.

“Through CMI Women we will provide organisations with a Blueprint for Balance, while also enabling individuals to play their part in accelerating their own careers and supporting others to do the same. It is by working together in this way that we can find the solutions needed to find the 1.5 million extra women managers we’ll need by 2024 to achieve the gender balance that is critical for future UK business success.”

Heather Melville, chair of CMI Women and director of strategic partnerships at RBS, said: “1.5m new women managers is an ambitious target but one that UK employers can’t afford to miss. It is essential for employers to do everything possible to achieve greater gender diversity across their management layers, not only for the benefit of women but also for the benefit of business productivity and the UK economy.

“That is why we are urging employers to use the Blueprint for Balance tool to share learnings about how to make this happen.”

Join the conversation on Twitter: @cmi_managers #cmiwomen

Visit CMI’s Blueprint for Balance to share guidance on gender parity

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