Women managers hit glass ceiling

Women executives now hold nearly a fifth of management jobs in UK companies, according to a report from the Institute of Management and Remuneration Economics. But, says the survey, this is not true across the board and the already small proportion of women holding directorships has fallen to under 4 percent.

The National Management Salary Survey, which canvassed 26,000 individuals in 584 organisations, found that the number of women executives has more than doubled to 18 percent since 1990.

However, in manufacturing, R&D, purchasing and contracting, fewer than 10 percent of managers are female. The highest proportion is to be found in personnel (50 percent), followed by insurance and pensions (40 percent) and marketing, where a third of managers are women.

The survey also found that women managers’ salaries rose by 7.7 percent this year while their male counterparts’ pay rose by 6.8 percent. But in the boardroom the small number of female directors saw pay rises of 7.4 percent as against 10.3 percent and earned on average nearly #30,000 less. This is partly because women are largely absent from the higher paid roles of chief executive and financial director. In fact, women occupy only 3.6 percent of directorships: last year’s figure was 4.5 percent.

They have most success in personnel and marketing, where 18 percent and 13 percent are women.

Director general of the Institute of Management, Mary Chapman, said: “There is still some way to go before women really break through the glass ceiling and reach the boardroom in significant numbers.”

If they are to survive the recession companies must concentrate on maximising revenue opportunities rather than simply attempting to cut costs, warns KPMG Management Consulting.

“Tracking customer behaviour, forecasting future demand and managing product availability and price accordingly may save companies with high fixed costs, such as airlines and hotels,” said KPMG consultant Peter Jarvis.

“Such companies cannot close down operations so they must identify the market segment which will be most profitable once recession kicks in.” Revenue management techniques can increase annual revenues by up to 8 percent, he said, and are particularly beneficial when companies can create different products from their fixed capacity. “The ability to exploit revenue opportunities without scaling down operations can significantly increase companies’ chances of survival.”

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