By Daniel Hunter

Pay gaps, the wrong role models, a weak talent pipeline and lack of self-confidence are amongst the biggest challenges holding back female managers, according to Women in Leadership, the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) first ever White Paper on gender issues.

The paper builds on the results of the National Management Salary Survey (NMSS), published annually by CMI and XpertHR, which in 2012 showed a lifetime pay gap of over £420,000 between female and male executives.

High profile contributors include Cherie Blair, Baroness Prosser (Deputy Chair of the Equality & Human Rights Commission), Professor Susan Vinnicombe (Cranfield School of Management), Caroline Waters (ex-HR Director at BT) and Professor Tom Schuller (author of ‘The Paula Principle’).

As well as bringing together the very best thinking from business, management and academia, Women in Leadership also presents a range of practical recommendations, including:

For female managers[b/]

· Identify your goals and what you want to achieve through your career at different stages, using tools such as the Grow model for coaching.

· Assess your career development to date — are you fully satisfied? Does your vision match the reality? What are your options for getting there?

· Look for opportunities. Assess the internal opportunities at your organisation, assess your skills and qualifications, build networks and learn to better negotiate your salary.

· Keep an eye on your progress and continue to revisit your plan. What has been the result of your actions?

· Inspire younger women by getting involved in your local school or taking on a mentee.

[b]For employers and line managers

· Measure and report on the proportion of women in your workforce, including at senior levels. Where there is little progress, act on it.

· Create supportive networks and encourage mentoring opportunities for female managers.

· Prepare future leaders with the skills they need to do a good job at the top including training, experience and qualifications.

· Enable women to be wives, mothers and carers by embracing flexible working at all levels.

For Government

· Require companies who have transgressed to publish aggregated pay data at all levels within the business.

· Focus on the talent pipeline, not just the boardroom: ensure greater transparency from employers about the level of female representation at different management levels.

· Inspire younger women’s career aspirations by integrating management and leadership development into the education and skills system at every level, as recommended by the Heseltine review.

The release of Women in Leadership marks both International Women’s Day (8 March 2013), and CMI’s own commitment to sign up to the Government’s ‘Think, Act, Report’ voluntary initiative, which aims to drive greater transparency around gender employment issues.

CMI is also supporting women in the workplace with its Women in Management Network, which is the largest women’s network in the UK with over 7,500 members and offers events and support to female managers across the country, including through its Horizon Mentoring Programme.

“I am very pleased that the Chartered Management Institute have today signed up to the Government’s Think, Act, Report initiative. More than 70 leading organisations across a wide range of sectors have already joined, including BT, Accenture, IBM, Network Rail and Marks & Spencer," Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, said.

"More than a million employees are working in companies signed up to Think, Act, Report. By their public commitment to promoting gender equality, these organisations are leading the way and I hope others will follow their lead.

“It is important that companies have a diverse range of people at every level. What is good for equality is also good for business — quite simply companies make better decisions when their staff are drawn from the widest pool, as they understand their market and their customers better.”

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI, said: “The business case for more women in senior positions is clear. Research has shown having women at the top is good business sense: firms do better with diversity. Sadly, for many organisations, it seems that Wonder Woman is still worth less than Superman. Just look at the FTSE 100.

"With only two women CEOs, UK plc will continue to lose out on female talent if businesses don’t report on the progress and show what they are doing to tackle the issue. Women in Leadership should serve as a call to action for employers to tackle inequality — and reap the business benefits that come with it.”

Sandra Pollock, National Chair of Women in Management (WiM), said: “Women need the confidence to reach for the top and their employers need to support them along the way. It’s also vital for women to cheerlead other women through mentoring and sponsoring. Through our Horizon Mentoring Programme, we buddy up professional women to help them learn from each other, push boundaries and ignite their ambitions.”

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