Women leaving management

In a report based on figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers Monks pay database, women are increasingly leaving senior management positions. The number of female senior managers working in major UK businesses has taken a sharp fall of over 40% in the last five years. In 2002, some 38% of senior manager level posts in the FTSE 350 were occupied by women, but this has now sunk to just 22%. The news may come as a surprise to many companies that have introduced flexible working arrangements and appointed heads of diversity in an attempt address equal opportunities in the workplace and retain talent. One possible reason for this is the growing cost of childcare. While top executive roles are likely to have a larger disposable income, those in middle ranks do not. According to Sarah Churchman, head of Diversity at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, “Businesses tend to pay more attention to gender issues in senior positions and there appears to be an assumption that a supply from the middle ranks will eventually feed through. For big companies at least, this pipeline is shrinking at a worrying rate. Smart companies will monitor work force trends in this and other areas. It makes business sense to ensure talented people have opportunities to continue their careers as their circumstances and needs change throughout their working lives.”