Women baulking at boards

ORGANISATIONS must change tactics in the boardroom if they are to attract high-performing women and compete in the war for talent, according to a recent report from the UK

ORGANISATIONS must change tactics in the boardroom if they are to attract high-performing women and compete in the war for talent, according to a recent report from the UK.

Released by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), it found organisations were driving talent away, with many women who have the capability to reach the top instead choosing to build their own business.

It also found that a new set of male-dominated rules and norms come with being at the top, and these can limit women entering the boardroom, make them feel isolated or drive them to leave.

“I see the trappings of higher status, more money or a bigger car as geared towards a male perspective of success,”said one interviewee in the Women in the boardroom: A birds eye view report.

“Whilst work practices have drastically changed over the years, some board members appear to be stuck in the nineteenth century. They must change their image of an old boys’ club, and start representing the present workforce,” according to the CIPD’s Dianah Worman.

“Organisations need to address these problems and look for ways to make the boardroom culture more diverse and appealing to all high-performers, including women. Flexibility, environment and culture are equally as, or more, important than money in attracting and retaining employees.”

The study found there were three types of career women and highlighted a number of factors affecting whether or not they decide to enter the boardroom.

Corporate high-flyers (those who stayed within the corporate life and had achieved senior roles) fell into two categories: those who are engaged and work towards making a difference in their organisation and those who are dissatisfied with the overall deal that top jobs offer them.

The second category, soloists and pioneers (those who have struck out alone, either working on their own, or setting up businesses on their own terms) are women who tend to work as long and hard as in corporate life, but they feel that the way they manage their work-life balance brings them greater satisfaction than if they’d stayed on and pursued a board-level career.

The third category, submarines (talented women who have chosen not to work towards traditional career advancement, but have put their energy into other areas) put other priorities ahead of work, as work is not engaging or rewarding enough to compete with other elements in their lives.

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