Coaching tool to crack glass ceiling

Coaching, mentoring and sponsorship programmes could be part of the answer to the problem of the acute shortage of women in senior positions in banking.

Women in banking have lower expectations of career progression than their male colleagues, and sponsorship and mentoring could raise their confidence and their aspirations.

Mentoring relationships between senior men and fledgling female leaders would help build an understanding of the challenges women face, in an industry where only a third of senior male executives acknowledged that there were barriers to female career progression.

The recent report by the Institute of Learning and Management found that a mere 11 per cent of corporate managers and senior executives in banking are women, even though the number of female manages in the financial sector as a whole is on par with the national average of 34 per cent.

It highlights the challenge facing UK banks if they are aiming for gender diversity at senior levels, in an economy where employee diversity is a proven route to increased innovation and performance.

Reasons cited for the low numbers of women in this industry are management culture, with senior male managers recruiting and promoting other men; promotions often being made on a ‘who you know’ basis rather than merit alone; lack of opportunity for flexible working; paucity of female role models; and women opting out for family or personal commitments.

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