By Daniel Hunter

Speaking in response to the publication of the annual Cranfield School of Management update on women on boards, Penny de Valk, Chief Executive of talent management and leadership consultancy, Cedar, has said women are throttling back their own careers.

“Unless businesses boost the number of talented women at all levels of their organisation, there will continue to be slow progress at the very top," she said.

"Today’s report suggests that the companies’ management systems for maintaining and developing female talent are stalling.

“The lack of female role-models in senior positions feeds a vicious cycle, where the summit looks like a risky and alien place for women and the personal cost of success may seem too high.

"While there is evidently a huge amount to be done by Chairman, Chief Executives and Executive Search firms — in terms of spreading the net wider and looking outside of the corporate mainstream, women themselves can also take positive action.

“We see women throttling back their own ambitions; our research has found that many fewer women have long-term career plans than men. This suggests that, faced with a chronic shortage of female role models, women are developing self-limiting beliefs and taking a passive approach to their careers, which is likely to put them at a further disadvantage when it comes to asserting their value and pushing for promotions and salary reviews.

“Women need to have the confidence to take charge of their careers. Of course, a greater abundance of senior female role models in the work place — plus better access to sponsors, mentors and networking opportunities — will all help women make this step change.”

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