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CMI launches ‘Women’ diversity mission

The Chartered Management Institute has launched a new initiative, CMI Women, to address the gender gap in the UK management workforce.

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“1.5 million new women managers is an ambitious target but one that UK employers can’t afford to miss” - Heather Melville, Chair of CMI Women

Two million new managers are needed within eight years to meet the UK’s projected growth targets. But three quarters of these would need to be women for full gender parity to be achieved.

Figures show that women outnumber men at junior levels of management, but there is a significant drop-off when it comes to higher levels of management. The pay gap and lack of flexibility are two issues to be addressed by workplace culture if full diversity is to be achieved.

CMI Women arrives with a Blueprint for Balance, which is designed to help organisations consider their strategy and strive towards an even gender split between managers.

It’s clear that women are still the primary untapped resource in the workplace.

Diversity makes business sense

The arguments for diversity are striking – not only in terms of culture, skills and risk-moderation, but also in terms of hard numbers and performance.

Estimates show that improving diversity could add up to £150 billion a year to the UK economy within ten years.

2015 report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has shown that diverse companies are 15 per cent more likely to outperform competitors. In terms of global performance, advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to global growth.

It’s also something that current managers believe in, according to the CMI. 82 per cent of managers agree that diversity training should be core to every manager’s professional development.

You can’t have a serious discussion or effectively influence outcomes without including the perspectives of women.

A modern ambition for global answers

Diversity is also being touted as a solution to the UK’s productivity gap. This, as CEO Ann Francke noted, is over 20 per cent down on 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”, she said. “It’s clear that women are still the primary untapped resource in the workplace.

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CMI Women builds on a growing tide of diversity concerns from other sectors, including development and policy.

CMI Women builds on a growing tide of diversity concerns from other sectors, including development and policy.

Take the World Economic Forum, where around 85% of attendees are male. David Rothkopf, CEO of the FP Group, has called the meeting ‘compromised’ and describes the imbalance as ‘inexcusable’.

“Look at the agenda”, he says. “On issue after issue – economics, politics, health, education, development, climate, combating extremism, stabilizing societies – you can’t have a serious discussion or effectively influence outcomes without including the perspectives of women.”

Some leading development experts have pledged not to speak at panel events unless there are clear attempts at diversity among the speakers.

But solutions will be aided by putting measures in place that are designed to increase the number of women in management roles. Greater flexibility is one of the key requirements that will boost the percentage of women that achieve higher level roles.

“1.5 million new women managers is an ambitious target but one that UK employers can’t afford to miss”, said Heather Melville, chair of CMI Women.

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.

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