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Blocked female talent pipeline costing UK businesses

Report says talent unblocking may amount to £5bn a year

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UK businesses could potentially benefit by upto £5billion per annum if companies unblock the talent pipeline for their 500,000 female middle managers.

A new report by Alexander Mann Solutions, published in conjunction with Everywoman, noted a high level of frustration caused by a lack of opportunity and clarity of a career path that female talent is experiencing at middle management level.

Its survey, of 400 female middle managers and 200 senior human resources leaders, revealed that 43 percent of female middle managers feel they are likely to leave their current employer in the next two years.

The aspects of work that female middle managers were least satisfied with were - lack of opportunities (48 percent), likelihood of progression (47 percent) and clarity of a career path (40 percent). Of significant cause for concern, only 11 percent of female middle managers described themselves as ‘extremely satisfied’ in their job.

Rosaleen Blair, founder and CEO of Alexander Mann Solutions, said, "This is a wealth of valuable experience and expertise that businesses will be losing, often to competitors. Addressing the pipeline for female talent should be a major focus for businesses of all sizes."

However, the study titled - Focus on the Pipeline: Engaging the full potential of female middle managers - noted a striking difference between HR leaders' views and the concerns of female middle managers themselves.

Although 81 percent of female middle managers felt lack of progression is a problem, just 62 percent of HR leaders agreed. HR leaders thought 35 percent of female middle managers want to be promoted in the next two years. However, 56 percent of women said they wanted to be promoted in that timeframe.

Karen Gill, co-founder of Everywoman, said that after 13 years of working with women in business she knew all about the frustrations and challenges that women face.

"While diversity is much more front of mind than several years ago, some companies still don’t know where to start to unlock the productivity of their female middle managers. The good news is that there are practical steps companies can take to improve their female talent pipeline," Gill added.

Based on the findings of the report, Alexander Mann Solutions and everywoman recommend that businesses focus on the strong case for gender diversity and align HR leaders' perceptions with female middle managers' ambitions.

They also proposed including female middle managers in succession planning, encouraging female middle managers to take more responsibility for their own careers, extend flexible working options and reshape female middle managers' relationship with senior women role models.


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