The Women’s Business Council (WBC) has today launched a government report on maximising women’s contribution to economic growth.
Chaired by Ruby McGregor Smith CBE, chief executive of FTSE250 strategic outsourcing company MITIE, the WBC is an independent one year working group established by the government in 2012.
The report explores the untapped potential of the female workforce and sets out a series of recommendations on how the UK can make the most of women’s contribution to economic growth.
The report looks into addressing the obstacles at all stages of women’s careers, such as broadening career choices, helping to access childcare and providing the necessary skills to start new businesses.
Ruby McGregor Smith CBE, chief executive of MITIE and Chair of the Women’s Business Council, said:
“The work of the Women’s Business Council could not be more timely. Our recommendations are for both Government and the business community, and cover every stage of women’s working lives.
“I am passionate about making sure obstacles for women to work at different stages of their careers are removed, and UK business has a hugely important role to play in achieving this.
“At MITIE we know that embedding a culture of diversity is key to the long-term success of our business. We look to attract, develop and retain the best female talent and provide them with a supportive and inclusive working environment. We have introduced a series of intiaitives to improve our culture for women and are committed to leading the way in diversity.
“Now is the time for all businesses to act. Through the implementation of the WBC’s recommendations, we can unblock the talent pipeline that for so long has restricted women from reaching the most senior levels in business – and deliver long-term economic benefits for the UK.”
In April 2013, MITIE was named as one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women, for the third consecutive year, illustrating its commitment to gender equality.
MITIE has a a variety of programmes aimed at retaining female talent, including dedicated maternity coaching, flexible working, company-wide mentoring, and an externally chaired diversity steering committee.
Other recent initiatives include a partnership with charity Working Chance to assist women offenders in making the transition back into work, and a targeted campaign to encourage women into under-represented trade apprenticeships such as plumbing and construction.
The WBC report’s key findings and recommendations for Government and business are:
- that there is an overwhelming business case, supported by strong evidence, for maximising women’s contribution to growth;
- that we need to broaden young women’s aspirations and job choices before the start of their working lives by creating a partnership between schools, businesses and parents;
- business needs to embrace the benefits of flexible working and understand how best to support working parents in the second stage of their career;
- women in the third phase of working life offer great untapped potential;
- there is a strong case for providing more support for women who want to setup their own businesses.