By Paul Richmond, Managing Director.
It is hugely frustrating to know that for many professional firms over half their intake comprises women, yet men usually fill the majority of senior management and leadership positions.
In March 2022, a Chartered Management Institute study reported that women, who made up nearly half (48%) of the UK working population, held only 38 per cent of senior business leadership positions in the UK workplace.
In the 21st century, every firm is aware of the benefits of diverse leadership teams, including less grandstanding, fewer egos, greater teamwork and collaboration. Despite these benefits, there is often a lack of women willing to step up into leadership positions. The latest report from Boston Consulting (February 23) highlights the powerful impact of inclusion at the highest level, as they believe it is
“one of the most actionable levers companies have to attract and retain talent”
With extended paternity leave now available, raising a family has become more of a joint effort than it was 20 or 30 years ago. However, many firms find that women choose not to pursue leadership roles.
“Less than full-time“ means less than committed to our business!
I cannot help but chuckle when I meet leaders in respectable firms who honestly believe that it is logistically impossible to appoint a part-time equity partner. They ask, ’How would full-time partners feel if somebody working part-time shared their equity profits?’ However, I cannot see a problem with someone working four days a week and taking 80% of a full-time employee’s salary.
Furthermore, in my experience, employees who work part-time often overdeliver on their KPIs and targets, whether due to a sense of responsibility or peer pressure. In contrast, I have met countless partners who failed to meet their KPIs but still receive a disproportionate equity share of points because of their ‘time served’.
Levelling the playing field requires two actions that both have a very different focus. Firstly, the board and senior leadership team need to understand the benefits of having part-time employees and accept that lifestyle choice so that their firms do not miss out on the potential ideas, connections, and opportunities that it can deliver. This culture shift at the top level promotes and drives inclusivity.
Secondly, it is necessary to retain female talent long enough for them to view senior roles as a viable option. This first action is a medium-term solution.
The second action is fostering confidence and the aspirations of female future leaders within the firm. This can be achieved by establishing a female-focused community within your firm. Our Advance Programme for aspiring female leaders does just that.
Our Advance programme for Aspiring Women Leaders is an intensive programme over six months that requires commitment. The programme is far less about teaching women what leadership is, and more about helping them paint a clearer picture of the woman they wish to “become” and providing practical action and support to realise this at work. It includes over 42 engaging modules that can be completed at one’s own pace, as well as live virtual sessions with facilitators and coaches who will encourage, challenge, and push participants to understand what they need to do to achieve success.
In 2022, we launched our first Advance programme for a global audience of aspiring women leaders. The results were astonishing, as demonstrated by the significant rise in key metrics:
Percentage increase in metric across all delegates
Our programme comprises over 12 hours of highly focused material that examines the challenges women face in being heard, being accepted, and proving their worth. It also explores the importance of believing in one’s self-worth. If you wish to reduce your recruitment fees and promote gender equality at the highest level, this programme is a must.
The programme is available in an intensive six-month format or can be provided over several years as part of a longer-term developmental opportunity for ambitious women.
Read more about the Advance for Aspiring Women Leaders programme here and get in touch with our Programme Director here to find out more.