People 1st claim supporting industry leaders will get women in boardrooms

By Lauren Houghton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Women, Leadership, Management

Chief executive of People 1st Brian Wisdom challenged the Government report for not acknowledging companies with clear schemes to help female employees
Chief executive of People 1st Brian Wisdom challenged the Government report for not acknowledging companies with clear schemes to help female employees
Chief executive of People 1st Brian Wisdom has criticised the latest Government report on gender in boardrooms for not taking into account organisations with active strategies for encouraging women at all levels.

The Government’s women on boards report names a number of well-known companies that do not have any women on their non-executive boards, but does not mention any companies that are taking action to develop a pipeline of women who could enter these positions.

People 1st, the skills and development charity for the hospitality industry, believes that there are companies in the sector whose work in this area deserves to be acknowledged. Wisdom claimed that focusing on non-executive board positions was not the answer, and instead companies that help build women’s skills levels so they have the potential to reach the boardroom should be celebrated.

Promoting women in hospitality

Wisdom asserts that there are examples of hospitality companies in the report that have an active system for promoting women in their company, yet they are only being highlighted for having no women in the boardroom.

He said: “The Government report doesn’t take into account the important work that a number of companies are doing to promote women into executive positions. They need to take these steps first so that they can develop the skills they need to move into non-executive positions.”

Wisdom sites Europe’s premier visitor attractions operator Merlin Entertainments as an example of this.

“Merlin Entertainments has a proactive strategy to develop its female employees across the globe through a range of mechanisms. This includes development, mentoring and networking programmes like the Women 1st Step Up programme, which supports female managers and helps them to transform their leadership abilities, giving them the skills and confidence to move up in their career.

“Merlin is clearly taking a long-term approach because its leaders recognise that they need to build a pipeline of talented women to ensure that they get the right training and support throughout their career and so that they can succeed at an executive or non-executive director level.”

Women 1st

Research released by People 1st in 2010 demonstrated that 61 per cent of women see a lack of female mentors as being a barrier to progressing in their career. It also showed that nearly a quarter of women believed that an overriding male culture and attitude in companies was holding them back. At that time, the hospitality industry was losing 310,000 women every year.

Wisdom said: “Faced with these results we established Women 1st, a campaign that aims to transform the face of boards in our industries and to support women who aspire to senior leadership roles to fulfil their career ambitions.”

Woman 1st​ has trained 1000 women in management since it was created and has worked with Merlin Entertainments since 2011. The group is actively exploring ways to get women in the boardroom​ and boost the careers of those in the industry. 

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1 comment

Right person, right place

Posted by Annenarie,

Surely the focus should always be having the most suitable people in the most appropriate position rather than gender?

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