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12 January 2017 -


CMI wants to hear your views on how male role models can act as agents of change for promoting women in management

Matt Scott

The UK will need two million new managers to meet predicted growth, according to the latest research from CMI, but hundreds of thousands (possibly 500,000) of female managers are disappearing from the workforce.

And with male managers still 40% more likely to be promoted than women, the opportunities for women to succeed in management are often limited compared to those afforded to their male counterparts.

CMI’s own research has revealed that for managers who have stayed with the same employer for the last five years, 47% of men have been promoted, while the same figure stands at just 39% for women.

To help combat the problem, CMI has launched CMI Women and is supporting a drive for more men to act as role models for ambitious female managers looking to further their careers.

James Bardrick, Citi Country Officer for the UK and Vice Chairman Corporate & Investment Banking, Citi, said that if organisations lack enough female role models, then “some of us men have got to actively get on with it and be the role models and mentors ourselves until we have got to a better place”.

He urged managers to act: “You’ve got to find those women, you’ve got to support them, develop them, go out of your way to listen and to engage and talk.” That means providing “challenge and pushback and not just being a spectator saying, ‘isn’t it a shame we’re not getting there.’”

Part of the problem facing young female managers looking to climb the corporate ladder is that there are not enough women in senior positions to inspire and support them in their development.

As such, CMI is calling on male managers to put themselves forward as mentors and role models for up-and-coming female managers, and to act as agents of change in the drive for gender diversity.

Creating Balanced Workplaces

To redress the lack of women in key roles Bardrick said managers need to “Hire more, retain more, develop more, lose less. If you want more senior women as role models, hire more women at the beginning, lose less, push more up and make them successful. It’s just logic.”

He also urged managers to ensure that slates for open positions had female candidates and to “go out of your way and take bold decisions about promotions” to make sure that talented women do get opportunities, with appropriate encouragement and sponsorship to develop their careers.

FIND OUT MORE: 25 surprising gender bias fixes

Bardrick also shared how his own experience of working with female managers had helped shape his own career.

“Perhaps I’m very unusual”, he observed wryly: “I’ve reported directly to eight women”. All of them, he emphasised, offered great lessons to him and have had highly successful careers of their own.

He named a few: “There’s Alison Carnwath, the Chairman of Land Securities. Amanda Shipman, who became a partner in a private equity firm. Linda Collier, who was on the board of several listed companies. Gina Scheck, who became a successful talent coach and Karen Cook, who is President of Goldman Sachs International.

“When you look at these women, they all did terrifically well in their careers.”

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