September 4, 2013 5:06 pm

Jobs and Careers: Essay on gender says barriers can be self-imposed

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Surbjit Kaur argues that the gender imbalance in senior roles is partly down to workplace culture and partly down to self-imposed impediments created by females themselves.

These ideas, expressed in the course of a 1,300-word essay have won Ms Kaur, a senior manager with EY, the professional services firm, a full scholarship for an executive MBA programme at Henley Business School, worth £34,000.

An essay competition, run by Henley in partnership with The 30% Club, which campaigns for fairer representation of women in business leadership, and FT Executive Appointments, attracted some outstanding entries. Entrants were set the task of answering the question “What are the key challenges to creating a gender balance at all levels in organisations?”

Exceptional candidates who missed out on the scholarship are being offered bursaries towards the fees of a Henley eMBA. You can read an edited version of Ms Kaur’s essay on this page next week.

Big names

Several executive search firms like to feature someone with a high profile in their top team. For example, at Odgers Berndtsen there is Virginia Bottomley, the former cabinet minister; and Fidelio Partners has just taken on Pen Hadow, the polar explorer. Now, Green Park has appointed Trevor Phillips, the former television executive and presenter, and former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, as strategic board adviser and chairman of its advisory panel. It gets you noticed.


Powerful part-timers

A list of this year’s most powerful part-time workers in the UK will soon be compiled, as the Timewise Foundation repeats the exercise it began last year to debunk the myth that part-time jobs suit only low-skilled roles.

The social enterprise wants business leaders and HR professionals to nominate leading figures succeeding in senior roles while working part-time. The 50 most senior will form the Power Part Time list, which FT Executive Appointments will be covering in the autumn. Nominations close on Monday September 23. See http://timewisefoundation.org.uk/our-work/power-part-time/

Give the kids a break

With headlines criticising the work ethic and skills of UK youngsters – Jamie Oliver, the chef, last week labelled them “wet”, for example – there is a danger that these views turn into a universal “truth”.

To provide some balance, research from Career Academies UK, a business education charity that seeks to bridge the gap between employers and socially disadvantaged students, challenges this perceived wisdom. Sponsored by Santander, the bank, a poll of 100 senior managers in 85 companies identified seven key benefits for employers of engaging with young people.

Companies said they had become better connected with communities and customers, improved their marketing to young people, and opened up new talent streams. One said: “Nurturing young talent is a real feel-good factor; it gives us a huge boost in corporate morale.”

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