2018 not 1918 - Don't Leave Women Behind

Steph Hopper - Head of Talent Solutions

A report on gender balance released last week reveals the top 10 excuses by companies in the FTSE 350 on why they don’t have more women as board members.

“I don’t think women fit comfortably into the board environment”; “Most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board”; “All the ‘good’ women have been snapped up” and “We need to build the pipeline from the bottom – there just aren’t enough senior women in this sector” are just four of the explanations given by chairs and chief executives when questioned by the team conducting the review.

One of Capp’s clients is determined to develop the very best female emerging talent and encourage leadership. For the last seven years, this large technology multi-national has worked with us to run an Emerging Women in Leadership programme. Using Capp’s Strengths-based methodology this helps women harness their strengths, build confidence and gain vision through a combination of coaching and programme-led activity.

To date, around 600 women have taken part in the programme, which starts with a one-to-one strengths debrief with a Strengths Profile coach, followed by a seven week programme of assignments and peer coaching.

Feedback is very positive, and this translates into tangible career progression. 82% of participants report career progression within a year, and 75% of these attribute this to the leadership programme. Interestingly, there is a 92% retention rate after 12 months among participants – 6% higher than among peers.

Participant feedback includes: “Understanding other women leaders in the organization have the same issues as I do made me realize I am not less qualified for a leader role, my improved confidence has helped me to be more assertive and making more decisions.”

It is really heartening to see the lasting impact this programme can make in supporting emerging female leaders reach their potential. And hopefully the end to a list of excuses which sound more like 1918 than 2018.