Inflexible employer attitudes to work will keep women sidelined

More than 30 years after sex discrimination legislation was introduced, there are still barriers to women’s success in the workplace (‘Experts warn of limits on women’, Personnel Today, 13 March).

Despite an increase in the movement of earnings for women over the last few years, UK organisations risk losing a vast pool of talent if they do not start helping female workers to balance their personal and professional lives.

The Chartered Management Institute’s 2006 National Management Salary Survey revealed a decrease in the proportion of female managers for the first time in nine years. This would suggest that the pipeline of women workers referenced in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report is already diminishing.

If, as Accenture’s report shows, this is due to the fact that women have a problem balancing their personal and professional lives, then surely more flexible working hours is the answer. Research shows that flexibility is a key motivational driver for all today’s executives. By ignoring this, companies are not only losing out on a female workers but restricting the potential of the entire workforce.

Jo Causon
Director, marketing and corporate affairs, Chartered Management Institute

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