30% Club Launches New Executive Pipeline Action Group

New initiative aimed at improving the pipeline of senior female talent through collaboration with FTSE-350 companies

4th September 2012, London - The 30% Club is to launch a new initiative to improve the number of senior female executives in British companies. The Executive Pipeline Action Group will work with FSTE350 companies in co-ordinating efforts to improve the female executive pipeline, broadening the progress already made in the past two years to appoint more women non-executive directors within these companies.

Helena Morrissey, CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and Founder of the 30% Club comments: “This new initiative is a necessary and logical extension of the efforts already underway to develop a healthy pipeline of future female leaders. The fact remains that too few women have historically stayed the course in order to achieve an appropriate balance of men and women in senior management teams, and the 30% Club has to date been looking at specific components of this problem, such as the particularly acute female attrition rate at professional services firms. We need to broaden these efforts, and I am confident that this collaborative business-led approach will enable us all to make better progress.”

The Group will draw together Chief Executives from FTSE-350 companies who share the aspiration for better gender balance at all levels of their management teams. Concerted and specific efforts are needed to overcome what is still a complex set of reasons why many women leave the work force at a critical stage in their career – typically, but not always, catalysed by starting a family. The 30% Club believes that by aggregating experiences of successful initiatives, pooling evidence of what works along with a frank assessment of the particular challenges women often face in developing their careers, and companies face in retaining them, the current impasse can be unlocked. An important element of this initiative will be to celebrate success stories, shared by existing senior women executives at FTSE-350 companies, with the aim of encouraging and supporting younger women to maintain their levels of ambition and develop strategies for personal development. A series of talks at schools and universities will also be a key part of developing the educative element of the programme.

Jane Scott, UK Director of the Professional Boards Forum and 30% Club Steering Committee member, added: “Through this new initiative, the 30% Club will play a role both in encouraging companies to continue their efforts to build strong pipelines of female talent and in helping more women to sustain corporate careers. Companies are increasingly aware that it is vital to retain their women executives to contribute to performance at the most senior levels, and to make women feel that they are both valued and needed in business.”

The 30% Club is also launching the ‘Breaking the Mould’ awards with the Financial Mail on Sunday, to celebrate innovative efforts to develop and retain female talent at different types of companies.

Helena Morrissey concluded: “With the spotlight firmly on the issue, along with concerted efforts and an open approach, the 30% Club is optimistic that more women will be encouraged to develop their careers over the years ahead. Success cannot be achieved overnight as it takes many years to develop senior executives, but the 30% Club will measure and publish progress in this area.”

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