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Women caught in 'missing middle'

CMI research shows not enough women are making it to middle management positions

The UK economy will need two million new managers by 2024, and 1.5 million will need to be women if we are to achieve gender balance, according to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The problem for many organisations, according to the CMI, is the ‘missing middle'. While women outnumber men at junior levels not enough make it to middle management and the top. The CMI’s 2016 National Management Salary Survey found that while 73% of entry-level roles are occupied by women this reduces to just 43% in middle management roles.

The CMI estimates that the future does not look much better. According to diversity forecasts there will still be 480,000 ‘missing women’ from UK management in 2024.

Previous research from CMI found that the gender pay gap for managers is still higher than the national average of 18%, at 23%. This is a difference of £8,964 per year. Only 8% of managers said they set diversity targets.

Ann Francke, CEO at the CMI, said: “Unlocking the ‘missing middle’ of women managers is essential as UK businesses face up to the challenge of tackling the productivity gap that currently leaves us lagging 21% behind our G7 competitors. In the run up to Brexit we must do everything we can to support business growth to ensure the UK can stand alone, and it’s clear that women are still the primary untapped resource in the workplace.”

Heather Melville, chair of CMI Women and director of strategic partnerships at RBS, highlighted the business case for gender equality. “1.5 million new women managers is an ambitious target but one that UK employers can’t afford to miss,” she said. “It is essential for employers to do everything possible to achieve greater gender diversity across their management layers, not only for the benefit of women but also for the benefit of business productivity and the UK economy.”