A report published by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) on the profile of UK managers said enabling more managers to work part-time or job share is important to allow female talent to progress.
Report author David Pardey, ILM head of research and policy, said company culture can penalise women, who frequently seek flexibility for child care reasons at a time when candidates for senior management are being identified.
“A critical time for being considered for senior management is in your late 30s. Large corporates will often move candidates into different roles to test them at this time. However, many women will be seeking stable jobs, perhaps with opportunities to work from home or reduce their hours for a time,” he told Flexible Boss.
“This is very age specific; by accommodating the needs of managers for a part of their careers, employers will benefit from higher levels of loyalty and engagement, retaining managers who may then be capable of progressing to more senior roles.”
The ILM’s report analysed official data and found that 87% of managers work full-time, compared to 70% of the rest of the workforce. Both men and women are half as likely to work part-time as other workers, with only 7% of male managers working part-time, compared to 14.5% in the rest of the workforce. Likewise, 22% of female managers are part-time, compared with 45% in the rest of the female labour force.
Despite this, in a 2011/12 survey of managers, the ILM found that flexible working is now standard practice in half of the organisations it asked, with four in five managers saying they had taken advantage of flexibility in the past four years.
Much of this is informal, especially when it comes to flexible hours and remote working. While formally arranged flexible working is adopted by 15% of managers, generally most do not have such arrangements. The same is true with their teams – much flexibility is informal and therefore goes unrecorded.
“There is almost a conspiracy to keep it that way because of a fear of bureaucracy,” said Pardey.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/suspeeters/