Women’s Business Council are committed to identifying and sharing practical actions that business leaders can take to increase the representation of women in leadership, close the Gender Pay Gap and encourage women into STEM careers. The WBC understand that the business sector are seeking an authority for best practice in a crowded market place and want to learn from one another through best practice initiatives and case studies. In many ways, the Women’s Business Council provides guidance and examples of what is simply good business, change management and collective leadership practices applied to specific gender equality challenges.
In this section more vidoes from inspirational change agents could be found. Please click on the links to access the videos.
Watch MACA Co-Chair Denis Woulf on Sky
Sir Philip Hampton - Chairman of the Hampton Alexander Review
My name is Philip Hampton. I am Chairman of GSK
which is a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in the UK
I am also the Senior Independent Director at Anglo American PLC
which is a global mining company also headquartered in the UK,
but I am most particularly Chairman of the Hampton
which is a government backed review targeted at increasing the number of women
on boards and in senior executive positions.
Our target is to get the number of women on boards to 33%
and the number of women in senior executive positions in listed companies to 33%, by the end of 2020.
I think in terms of what works, in improving gender diversity first
and foremost is leadership. If the leadership of the company
If the Board, top management believe that gender diversity is important
then almost certainly it will be addressed.
and if the leadership of the company don’t think its important,
It probably would be overlooked in favour of other things.
So leadership is absolutely fundamental. The second thing that
is fundamental is a structured approach to this.
Companies do respond to, obviously, to target setting, to timetabling,
and to identifying the processes that deliver the targets according to the timetable.
and I think building the gender diversity picture should be structured in the formal way
that the other sets of business objectives are.
So those two things, leadership and structure are probably the most fundamental.
Beyond that every company is different. Every company is starting in a different place
in terms of their gender balance. And different companies have got different parts of the toolkit
that are most appropriate to them.
I would say a few things, which I think are
probably a little bit more universal than some of the others.
First of all the government has made a big effort on shared parental leave
and I would like to see companies making more use of that. And Indeed couples making
more use of shared parental leave, at the moment the take-up is very low.
And it would be great if that could be built over time.
Certainly would help women in their executive careers.
Sponsorship and mentoring. This is important for anybody
actually to have a boss who takes an interest in the development of their career.
But lots of companies who are doing well on this have got
pretty organised sponsorship and mentoring programmes.
Where senior people, very often senor men but can be senior women
take a particular interest in the development of high potential women.
And their development and their retention.
And the third thing I would say, which is the rather general thing
about culture. It is very important to recognise that we are where we are
with not enough women in senior business positions,
almost certainly because of unconscious bias about what we regard as leadership potential or leadership material.
and there are lots and lots of tests and analysis to show that we
are all guilty of unconscious bias to some extent or other.
So recognising actually that women can make absolutely outstanding business leaders
we may not be familiar with it, but we will know it when we see it.
Recognising that it can happen. And recognising that it
Increasingly will happen. I think is very important for businesses.
I said earlier that what’s important in order to improve gender diversity in business is, is
that companies have an appropriate structured approach to this. With targets and
timetables and the processes that they will use in order to achieve the targets in those timetables.
And I think this initiative by the Women’s Business Council to set up a toolkit
which will help companies move towards their gender diversity targets, I mean,
I think is a great, great initiative.
Not every aspect of the toolkit would be relevant for every business
as I said earlier, because all businesses have got different starting points
and all businesses have different challenges. But I would like to see
men in particular, make use making use of this toolkit, to structure their own programmes
to move towards their own gender diversity targets. More specifically, what I like to see is
individual senior men identify within their own organisations, let’s say between 1 and 3 women of high potential
in whom they take a particular interest to make sure that their careers are structured
and developed and the opportunities that arise are properly taken. If they take time off
for child birth or child care that return-ship programmes can be introduced
and the men through their own leadership, and their own interest and their own involvement,
try to make sure that women of high potential can actually realise that
high potential. And I think if enough senior men do that, that will make
a really big contribution to the targets that the Hampton Alexander Review
is focused on. Which is getting at least 33% of board positions and
At least 33% of executive leadership positions occupied by women
by the end of 2020.
I am sure there are plenty of highly capable women in almost every business
to be able to achieve that target.
Jaymin Patel - President and CEO Brightstar
Hello my name is Jaymin Patel. I am the CEO of Brightstar. I would like to thank you for viewing this video and for making use of the Men As Agents of Change toolkit in your business.
As a business you would already know that the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce are considerable and well proven. Businesses that are more divesr are better able to understand
All of their customers and this translates through to better bottom line results. Companies in the top quartile for gender equality, being 15% more likely to have returns above their national industry medians.
In the UK we’ve made solid progress in addressing gender inequality in the workplace, in recent years. In 2011 there were 152 all male boards in the FTSE 350.
By 2017, this has shrunk significantly just to 7. What great progress! However, we shouldn’t let this top level progress blind us to the challenges we still face in the UK. In 2017 only 35% of
Managers and directors are female. And women are half as likely as men to be involved in starting up a new business. Just think about that for a moment. If you have daughters or nieces they are less
Likely to progress to a leadership role, or start their own business just because they are female. It represents a major internal brain drain for our country at a time when we need all the business
talent and entrepreneurship we can get, as we prepare for the challenges and opportunities, outside the EU. The good news is that we do not have to accept this rate of change and can personally make
a difference to accelerating the rate of progress. The MACA toolkit provides tried and tested techniques for improving gender balance at all levels at your organisation.
All the examples given come from leading organisations that have successfully moved the dial in regard to gender equality. I really encourage you to review the ideas in contains
And select initiatives that would work best for your business.
Please remember that as a leader you cast a long shadow in your business and people look to you to guide and shape their own behaviour.
This means the power of your example can be a tremendous driver for real change.
I would like to ask you to join me in personally committing to sponsoring individual female talent, within your business now.
If everyone who receives the MACA toolkit does this, we can collectively go a long way to bringing the goal of gender equality, a lot closer to being a reality and one that even our own children can enjoy.
And that really is a goal worth shooting for.
Thank you again for your time, and for your commitment to this important cause.
Denis: Mark thank you for agreeing to talk to me on this, which is achieving gender balance in business leadership. So lets get in to it.
Denis: Why, why is it important to your business to try and achieve this?
Mark: The answer is really simple. It is just good business. I mean, you know I think we need to fundamentally change the narrative.
It is the right thing to do but that’s not the narrative we should be talking to business on. Its just good business.
Being inclusive, being diverse, having different views around the table, and gender balance is a key issue in there.
And so we need to change the narrative. Recognise that our customers are diverse, therefore our senior leadership should also be.
Denis: Can you tell us a little bit about what you are doing in Aviva to do achieve this and what has been your experience to date?
Mark: You know what, first of all I would say that I have been biased. I am biased because my first boss was a woman. My first mentor was a woman.
And she sort of put me on the path to, I guess, leadership. and also I have three daughters. So we will call this Enlighted self-interest, shall we?
And so, that I guess impacts me as a CEO. And so, but the answers to solve this problem, there is no one single answer.
I should be clear upfront. I am totally against quotas. I think that’s incredibly patronising. Targets are wonderful. Quotas are not.
And but the answers aren’t even just one thing. It’s a whole lot of small things to add up to, to big ones.
We are doing things as basic as ensuring we have diverse slates when you look for senior management positions. If your shortlist isn’t diverse then what are you doing?
We mandate, we do mandate that throughout the organisation. We have changed parental leave. To make it gender neutral and make it pretty generous. And that’s something saying we are not stereotyping roles.
We are saying we have changed parental leave. I think we are the first company in the UK to do that. we just announced that recently.
We have programs trying to develop woman. Through the business because the real issue here isn’t really the top. We’ll get there. The real issue is how do you get women, up through the middle levels of the organisation and up to top.
Denis: How do you develop that pipe-line? And you simply cannot develop that without taking risk. And that’s another I am doing. The only people I am mentoring personally at Aviva are actually woman.
Mark: Because I am trying to change that gender balance in the organisation. What else are we doing? We are talking very publically about it.
Internally and externally. And we are changing our policies to make sure that we match what we say. And just to be clear, I am very aware that were are not where, we need to be in our gender balance.
Particularly in the middle of the organisation, yet. We are not even close. And once you can recognise that, you can take action to move forward.
Denis: What would you say to other business leaders who are trying to make progress in this area?
Mark: You know what, I know, I am a bit controversial in my views. But I do think in the UK too many CEOs are Neanderthals. And I’ve had some pretty direct and blunt discussions with other CEOs
Who say, look we just don’t get it. We don’t buy it for all sorts of reasons that are out of the dark ages.
And what I would say to CEOs and I know that there are a lot of others who think the same as I do as well, just to be really clear,
I would say to CEOs, stop talking do something about it. Realise that it’s just good business. Engage on the topic because engagement simply gets progress.
But also recognise our weaknesses. We recognise particularly in our middle management pipeline, we are not anywhere near we need to be.
Denis: Mark I know you have been doing a lot of organisation around inclusion and policy implementation , can you tell me little bit about that?
Mark: I think the first thing is to recognise what the biases are and we are doing a lot of training and though and thought-leadership on that both at the board and the executive.
And part of it is about making iconic actions and changing policies. One of the iconic actions we have done is on parental leave.
And we are saying parental leave can be shared. Let’s take away the biases around that and level the playing field. Which obviously helps woman.
And men for that matter. And what we have done. We have said regardless of gender, or anything else, we have levelled the playing field and making paid parental leave the same. To men and women.
Denis: Mark thank you for speaking to me today.
Interviewer: Sharon I wanted to start by asking you just a wider diversity question. Very simply why is diversity amongst the workforce very important to you.
Sharon: I have a very simple way of looking at the world. Which is people whatever their background, whatever their gender or sexuality, whatever their mobility, whatever their ethnicity should have a
Full range of opportunities. My parents both emigrated from Jamaica end of the 50s, early 1960s. My mother, you know, managed to stay in school until she was 11 and my dad 15.
And I thought passionately, not as business case but as a moral case, everybody whatever their circumstances, wherever they have come from should have the same opportunities to succeed and do brilliantly.
Interviewer: Why do you think its so important that gender balance and diversity should be driven by the CEO?
Sharon: All my experience is that the only way organisations change is if the message comes from the top. It can’t come from the HR Department. It has to come from the Chief Executive that it is part of
His or her vision for the brilliance and the growth of the organisation. That diversity is a core part of that. And then you got a fighting chance.
Where do you think we are, in terms of progress with that sort of vison and…
Sharon: Within Ofcom or more generally?
Interviewer: Within Ofcom and generally actually.
Sharon: Within Ofcom I think we are on a journey. I think we definitely had more of a focus in the last 2 to 3 years. But I think it’s a conversation, we are still at quite early stages within the organisation.
We are very broad. So obviously we have got some of our skills basis, the engineers, the economists, it’s much harder,
you know its bit of an assumption that this is always going to be a male dominated area and I think it’s starting to break open that, some of that conversation.
Interviewer: How you can recruit more widely. How you can progress more quickly?
Sharon: I think more generally. I am still, I am still really struck myself personally that in 2017 its still news
that a senior woman is in a job, and I think, certainly, when I started out in work, 20, 25 years ago somebody had said, that it is still unusual for a women to be in a position with some influence
or some authority, 25 years later I would have been staggered. So I think within Ofcom we are, you know baby steps, I think we are moving in the right direction. I think we are starting to have the conversation. I think generally, there is till a huge amount to do.
Interviewer: I want to ask you quite a personal question. Your time here so far, as an outsider, working on the other side, looking in, Ofcom always seem quite a male dominated regulator, because of the areas it was regulating.
A, do you think that’s true and B, do you think you have started to change the culture, within of com and if so, how?
Sharon: So, has Ofcom been a male dominated regulator throughout a lot of its history, I think that’s probably a fair assessment.
As you say it’s partly reflection that we got a lot of technology and a lot of engineering skills and partly the pools from which we have recruited.
I think it’s also fair to say that although there been a huge amount that has been done, I think we have not had an organisation-wide recognition until quite recently about the importance of diversity for us as an organisation that wants have, keep, retain, nurture, made of a brilliant people, whatever their background.
So, as I say, I really think that we are at the foothills over the last few years. We have just introduced diversity targets. For the first time in the last 2 or 3 years.
We have got much better gender balance and we are using the opportunities to start looking more broadly. Graduate recruitment, starting to recruit CV blind. Looking at much broader range of universities.
But it takes time and all my experience even when I was a civil servant is it takes 20 years. Really fundamentally to change the dialog and to change the culture.
Interviewer: And within that messaging if you had to think of the top three tips if you like, of driving that diversity through, what would they be?
Sharon: I guess tip number 1 would be data, which you might expect from my economics background, having the numbers, actually understanding what the current picture looks like, so we are no longer debating.
Actually we’ve got the figures and you can see what’s going well and you can see where all the challenge areas are. So know the makeup of your workforce, get the data the power of transparency.
Second, challenging ourselves to look beyond, our usual pools for recruitment.
So whether that’s the graduate recruitment we always do form Russel Group universities, or we always do from Ox-Bridge, looking at where we are going to get a more diverse pool of talent and they are out there. But its outside their normal network to do that.
And thirdly I would probably say unconscious bias training, I mean I found even for the most harden syncs in the past if done well it really helps you to challenge.
I mean I am talking about not just discrimination or prejudice but it’s all those ticks and learn behaviour we had over the years, that cause us to take the decision we have taken.
I would really recommend, well done unconscious bias training can be very transformative for recruitment.
Men have a vital role to play to encourage cultural and behavioural change in business to help achieve better gender balance in business leadership.
I’ve agreed to make this short video, simply because, frankly it makes good business sense. To compete successfully businesses need to maximise al of the resources available to us.
And that clearly is not happening when it comes to women in leadership positions. A good start would be to achieve the 33% by 2020 challenge. Set out in the recent Hampton Alexander Review.
We’ve all seen that good progress has been made at board level largely though the appointment of women as non-executive directors. Which is made easier by guidelines limiting tenure.
Far more challenging is to make a similar shift in the executive pipeline. Which is dominated by men and can take years to build.
In Greggs we’ve appointed three new non-executive women to a board of seven in recent years but have work in progress when it comes to executive leadership.
Where an imbalance of women at senior management levels has resulted in the gender pay gap.
As CEO I have 8 direct reports, two of whom are women and I know that growing women from within the organisation to fill more of these roles will take longer.
But we’ve put a number of key building blocks in place to support women in advancing their careers.
Often the barriers to progression are deep rooted and misunderstood. And attempts to break them down would bring out cries of unfair bias and political correctness gone mad.
It is of course none of these things. But we do have to do things differently if we want things to change.
In Greggs our focus is on flexible working, sponsorship as well as training and support on unconscious bias and behaviours.
Maternity breaks are a biological fact of life. But there is no reason why men as well as women cannot share the responsibilities that follow.
Making it acceptable and easy for either or both partners to pursue a career while bringing up a family requires effort and a more flexible approach.
In our experience there is no one size fits all formula. And we have examples of part time working, job sharing, working from home and flex hours all of which have been adopted by both men and women
to provide solutions that work effectively. Making these solutions easily accessible to all, means women have the same opportunity as men to continue to develop to the higher levels of the business.
Likewise, when men wish to look after their family whilst pursuing a career, support is provided. Its about changing the way we do things, as well as perception and making it acceptable and easy for all.
Aside from the challenges of bringing up young families, women face behavioural obstacles in pursuing career ambitions. Often women do not appreciate how good they are at their own jobs
Generally face issues around self-doubt or the imposter syndrome and therefore limit their own ambitions.
Overcoming these confidence barriers requires strong line management who can provide feedback and encouragement to fulfil their potential and an open and honest dialog about their career progression.
One very effective way of working with women to overcome obstacles to development, created by themselves or others, is sponsorship along side networking and coaching.
Bringing career minded women together to support networks both internal and external to the business help share experiences and build confidence levels.
Meeting other women who have shown what can be achieved provides inspiration and motivation to emulate their achievements and go further.
Sponsorship takes it one step further and can accelerate the process of development whilst the executive pipeline takes time to bring all of your talent to the top.
Men sponsoring women is particularly effective and works on two levels. Championing senior management commitment to equality and diversity at the workplace and helping to progress high potential women quickly through the pipe-line.
Which it itself sets an example to others. Men being open about their career journeys, obstacles and successes can be invaluable to encourage and support progression.
As CEO of Greggs I want our business to harness all of the talent available to us and build a culture where all can succeed equally, regardless of gender.
To do that requires us to have an open and honest dialogue with each other to support and encourage development, and to do everything we can to allow both women and men to progress through our executive pipeline in equal measure.
As a member of the Women’s Business Council, I support the work of Men as Agents of Change, both to improve our performance in Greggs and to encourage others to grasp the opportunity in their own businesses.
Jeremy Darroch - CEO Sky Group
Interviewer: We are here to talk about Sky and women in leadership, why does gender balance matter to you? Why did you get involved with this here?
Jeremy: First of all I think it’s just the right thing to do. I think everybody whether they are, irrespective of their gender or background should have the opportunity to come to a place like Sky, to a big
Business, to be successful to be the best they should be, so it’s just the right thing to do. Second thing though I really think it’s good for business.
You know we are a big business today, we are represented in something like two thirds of the UK. We want our employee base to reflect the diversity of our customer base.
And for me why would you exclude and make it more difficult for 50% of the population, to grow and be successful in the company. So I think a combination of those two things
is what really drove us to say, we’ve got to improve. We’ve got to get better at this.
Interviewer: So what did you do at first?
Jeremy: Well clearly classically we put in place a HR plan. We gave a new HR, it was a functional plan and we didn’t make much progress. And the reason we didn’t make much progress is that we didn’t
embed it in the line. And so the change really was when we said this is going to be a core priority of leadership of the business and I think the reason is, at its heart this is all about changing the status quo.
And in lots of businesses I guess you’ll see, largely to do with history, over representation of men relative to women and other groups. And so you have to change the status quo.
And the status quo only change I think, if you really seek to change it and I that means responsibility needs to be embedded in the line.
Interviewer: So what did you do in practice?
Jeremy: Well we started putting targets in place so we established immediate targets for our senior leadership in Sky the top 400 people across the business, we wanted a 50:50 representation
We put in place training, development programs, a support network we introduced specific targets in terms of, or demands in terms of balanced shortlists and all of these things started to change
the status quo that was, that existed and we started suddenly to make progress. And one of the interesting things I think immediately we all felt is that, we just got access to a more diverse pool of talent.
One of the things we didn’t do, is we didn’t change our standards, we didn’t say we were goanna equivocate on the quality of people we are bringing in to sky or the people who are getting
promoted and developed through Sky. What we did is we broadened ourselves out and we really started to see this as a core priority for our leadership, for the business and it all started to flow from there.
And there are some areas at Sky that are particularly challenged, as they are elsewhere in the UK. So technology as a sector for example, has a particularly poor gender balance, what have you done there?
Well technology is a particularly good example and slightly harder to shift. So we’ve introduced specific programs for women in technology. We’ve introduced new technology scholars, where we
Can bring young women in to Sky, as part of our academy programme. Give them work experience at Sky and develop them and sponsor them.
And so we’ve taken particular focus on one or two of the more difficult areas, that sort of supersedes there in terms of what we are doing.
And of course, you know low and behold, we are finding, it s those things although they are harder, I think are also starting to move now, I think.
Interviewer: And what have been the big successes for you. What’s really moved the dial in terms of performance?
Jeremy: The first thing is I think we can see it, I think, in terms of the make up of the organisation. Just as I look around Sky, I look around our senior leadership, you can see it starting to see that come through.
I think that’s making us a better business. I think we are more creative, more innovative business. I think we take better and more balanced judgements today than I have seen perhaps in the past.
And also what we are starting to do is we are just getting access to a much richer pool of talent. That’s goanna be good for a business like ours. Because it gives us more options.
Interviewer: Any final thoughts?
Jermey: Well I think first of all, get going. Look I think you got to really lead it from the top. This is needs to b led. It needs to start at the very top of the company, and then it needs to flow through the general
management, the senior management of the business. Secondly, I think its about building bigger and better business. So actually it’s an opportunity, a real opportunity if you can make progress.
And thirdly I will just come back to what I said at the start. This is the right thing to do and some times things are so obvious you just got to get on with them and make them happen.
I think its one of the most important issues we have because its about creating the highest performing organisation. And when I look at our firm, we need the best people and its
Extraordinary to think that the best people will only be male. And therefore of course we need a diverse workforce. For ourselves, best performing organisation, but also in terms of our clients
Who expect us to deliver teams, which represent how they are as organisations.
There are two things I did and I think they are really good lesson for others. The first is take ownership. You have to lead from the top. You have to be very clear that this is the most important thing.
And for me that’s one of the things I did. Second thing is then putting in place some actions that will help deliver on the outcomes you want. So role model, take leadership, HR help enable this
But this is led by myself and our executive and a series of actions you stand behind and measure progress against.
We set some very real targets and some very explicit actions. So we set targets about proportion of our most senior grade partner, that we expected to be filled by a woman and we’ve seen that shift material over the last four years.
We set targets in terms of promotions and we’ve seen that shift. So by setting targets and the actions to deliver those targets, we’ve seen real change.
I think when you look at delivering change there are probably four things that I would encourage others to focus on. The first is leadership being very clear that its led from the very top.
Be it by the CO or one of the senior team, the second is setting some very clear targets and actions whether those around recruitment or around development or around work-life balance but
Very explicit targets and actions. The third is transparency. One of the things we did was to talk openly about how we wanted to address this issue, what the opportunity was and be very
Transparent about both the challenges and the process.
And finally is, is reporting back. Reporting back to the stakeholders, to the whole organisation on the progress you are making against those targets.
So those are probably the four things that I would encourage others to focus on.
Denis Woulfe-Co-Chair MACA group
Hello. My name is Denis Woulfe, a member of the Women’s business council and co-chair of MACA, ‘Men as Change Agents' initiative.
I'm now an advisor to boards and exec teams across the UK. Until recently, I was a partner and vice chairman at Deloitte.
During my career I have seen the positive change gender equality can bring to businesses however women still only represent 35% of senior leadership roles in the UK, so there is a lot still to do.
As Emer has mentioned, the MACA toolkit we have launched will help businesses to close that gap and help CEO’s maximise their personal role in inspiring cultural and behavioral change with their businesses and the wider business community.
Also, CEO’s are uniquely positioned to personally sponsor women from within their own organisation who could become senior leaders within the next three years.
This builds inclusiveness and diversity across business around the UK and closes the gender pay gap.
Now is the time to make the change we all want to see.
This can only happen with your active engagement to increase transparency and will embolden others to do things differently.
It is time for all of us to actively engage as change agents.
Thank you for watching and reviewing the report. You can view CEO’s talking about their experiences as well as other hints and tips at 'womens business council.co.uk'.
Emer Timmons-Co-Chair MACA group
My name is Emer Timmons, Chief Marketing Officer and President Global Enterprise for Brightstar.
I am also a member of the Women’s Business Council, which was set up in 2012 to advise the government on how women’s contribution to the UK economy could be maximised.
The WBC has 5 work streams which look to make positive interventions to support women throughout their working life.
Starting Out – which supports the choices of girls and young women
Getting On - Which is about ensuring women move through the executive pipeline
Staying On – focusing on ensuring older females are supported to stay in work, or return to work after a career break
Enterprise – encouraging more women to start and lead their own businesses.
And finally, MACA, 'Men as change agents' of which I am co-chair, which aims to galvanise men to change the culture in the workplace to promote equality.
Everyone is aware of the Hampton Alexander report, which is asking for FTSE 350 companies to increase representation of women on their boards to 33% and we know that companies which operate in the top quartile of gender diversity are 15% more productive than those in the bottom quartile.
A key initiative of MACA is the sponsorship toolkit which is launched today, which will help towards achieving this target.
This provides ideas for business leaders to drive towards gender balance in their teams and close the gender pay gap.
They are presented in the form of case studies from prominent businesses in the UK who are using them to great effect.
I myself have benefitted from this type of support in my career so I know the value and opportunities that can come from it and the benefits that come to businesses as a result.
This is not just about women, it is about inclusivity and diversity, which benefits us all across the UK.
Thank you for watching, please do visit 'womens business council.co.uk'. for more hints and tips and we hope it will give you the inspiration you need to make the positive change for good in your business.