This week’s letters

One set of rules for both sexes

Women are better than men at many aspects of management, but do not get the
same opportunities as their male counterparts to demonstrate their skills at

This was the finding of a study we completed last year, which also supports
the article ‘European businesswomen being hindered by gender stereotyping’
(Yardstick, 6 August).

Female managers particularly outscored their male counterparts on
self-awareness. If you believe that more self-aware individuals make more
effective leaders, it is surprising that women hold only 5 per cent of
directorships in the UK’s 200 largest companies.

We also find that men are often judged on their potential, whereas women are
judged on their performance. However, even when women outperform men, the
balance tips against them.

Figures from the London School of Economics reveal that all women graduates,
even those with first-class degrees, are being paid, on average, about 10 per
less than male graduates.

What both of these studies have shown is that to achieve gender diversity in
senior management, organisations may need to review their development processes
in order to level the playing field.

Research shows that women are often offered one-to-one support through
coaching or mentoring. However, men are nearly twice as likely to be offered
turnaround or start-up projects which allow them to learn from personal
experience – and demonstrate their abilities.

Organisations need to use the same rules for both sexes – then women will
demonstrate their ability and make it to the top.

Dr Andrew Hill
Managing consultant, OPP

Fleeting remark was not very apt

I always read your HR coverage with interest and find it helpful, but I was
surprised by the description of ITV Digital as a ‘bastard child’ (Features, 20

It suggests that children born out of wedlock do not have a structured
environment for growth. Perhaps this was a fleeting comment and just not well
thought through. Maybe ‘wayward child’ would have been more apt.

As HR professionals and leaders, we have to be very cautious in our
language, as was highlighted by the resignation of Pat Bottrill, chair of the
governing council of the RCN, for quoting Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Niggers.

Your highlighting of this phrase seemed to imply a condoning of an out-dated
and prejudiced attitude towards the ‘family’, when HR is campaigning for
respect and fairness to individuals, regardless of their background.

Yasmin Shai, MCIPD, DipCouns
Education training & development leader, NHS Lancashire

Set example for work-life balance

I found the extensive article on work-life balance to be very
thought-provoking (Features, 6 August).

When I wrote my Masters’ dissertation on the subject in 1994, I was dismayed
to find research that showed some people chose to work long hours to avoid
their families, and others who were doing it to make up for inadequacies in
their private lives.

While I agree that age is an important determinant in work-life balance, I
hope we are encouraging managers of the future to be well-rounded individuals
with a healthy disrespect for presenteeism. One of the ways to do this is to
lead by example – this means taking all annual leave and quitting the office at
a reasonable time each evening, having done a good day’s work.

With that in mind, I am off to the Caribbean at 5 o’clock tonight.

Tessa Honey
Head of training and development, CMPInformation

CSR frauds may cause it to fail

All credit to Stephen Overell for highlighting the cynical exploitation of
HR’s latest flavour of the month – corporate social responsibility (Research
viewpoint, 6 August).

Is CSR motivated by a desire to be good to people, or is it to merely make

If it is the latter, then CSR will fail because employees and customers will
see it for what it really is. I don’t believe the early Christian benefactors’
actions were initiated by the desire to just increase profits or preen on
conference platforms.

I originally went into HR as a Christian, to genuinely serve people – but
then I’m probably old-fashioned in today’s climate.

John Telford
St Albans

Comments are closed.