By Ben Simmons
More progress needs to be made and executive recruiters have a key role to play in delivering tangible change, the Association of Executive Recruiters (AER), has said in response to the Prime Minister’s recent statement on gender balance in UK boardrooms. However, imposing quotas would be counter-productive and is not the answer.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a meeting of the Northern Future Forum - which is made up of Nordic and Baltic countries along with the UK - on women in business. Forced quotas for women on boards are already in place in countries such Norway and Sweden which lead the Prime Minister to comment ‘if you can’t get there in other ways, then maybe you have to have quotas’.
“Promoting women into senior executive roles requires fundamental reforms in the way we work and handle career progression,” comments David Winterburn, AER Chair in response to Cameron’s speech. “Quotas will only target the symptoms and not the root cause of the problem.
“We need to break down structural barriers and rethink policies to support women with young children. We also need to up the ante in terms of mentoring and must continue to raise awareness of some of the excellent support networks that can help women navigate their career paths. In the short-term, executive recruiters have a pivotal role to play by reaching out to more women candidates and providing practical support and coaching."
The AER is currently working with a number of organisations such as the CIPD, CBI, Women Like Us, the Women in Business Network, Everywoman, ILM and CMI to identify current barriers and develop a robust set of recommendations to tackle root causes.
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