Here come the girls! Women leading the way | Cummins Mellor

Here come the girls! Women leading the way

CM Management Team

The Cummins Mellor group management team

A diverse workforce can provide many advantages for businesses, with a vast modern market embodying a wide range of people and cultures, and there is no hotter topic right now than gender equality in senior roles.

According to the October 2014 Women on Boards report, published by Lord Davies of Abersoch, 22.8% of board positions in the FTSE100 are now held by women, up from 20.7% in March 2014 and 12.5% in 2011.

It seems that real change is happening and there is not yet any legislative quota in place to enforce the positioning of women in decision-making roles; UK businesses are realising and embracing the benefits of equality in the boardroom.

But is it enough? The aim is to have at least 25% female board membership by the end of 2015 as outlined in the report, with business secretary Vince Cable hinting that if this target is not met, legislation may be put in place to ensure an increase in gender diversity.

There are fears, however, that merit and talent will be overlooked if mandatory measures are put into place, with boards scrambling to simply make up numbers.

Helena Morrisey, Chief executive at Newton Fund Management, recently attracted media attention for her efforts of raising a family while simultaneously holding a top position.

While it is perhaps disheartening that Morrisey’s role as a mother remains such a focal point in the subject of her professional life, she remains proof that women are just as hardworking and capable as men, and therefore should not be overlooked for senior roles.

Morrisey, like many other speakers on the subject, is anti-quota and campaigns for chairmen to recognise the advantages of having more women in the boardroom.

Better diversity is sure to lead to innovation and better performance in business, with a greater variety of life experience and viewpoints being brought to the table.

Data on the matter also seems to qualify this assumption, with the Thomson Reuters Mining the Metrics of Board Diversity paper concluding that companies with gender-mixed boards outperformed those with no female board members between 2008 and 2013, based on 4,100 public companies from around the world.

While we are starting to see evidence of improved diversity, the figures could still appear quite daunting to professional women, suggesting that they need to work harder than their male counterparts to succeed in their careers, but we at Cummins Mellor hope that this won’t put them off.

“Cummins Mellor are very supportive of diversity in leadership roles,” says recently appointed Cummins Mellor MD Michelle Mellor. “We have a strong leadership team which includes both men and women, all of whom are very capable and hardworking in the roles they carry out.

“It is very positive to see an increase in the amount of women on boards and I hope it continues without the need for mandatory quotas.

“I urge women to be truly confident in their skills and believe in their ability and for company chairs to recognise the benefits of diversity, and to make decisions based on merit and talent and not gender.”

Leave a Reply