Number of female interim managers reaches all-time high
The proportion of women working as interim managers has reached its highest ever level says Interim Partners, the leading provider of interim management solutions.
Interim Partners says that women now make up 39% of all interim managers placed in Q3 2010, compared to just 28% of all interims two years ago (Q3 2008).
Interim managers work on a contract basis at or just below board level.
By contrast, the Female FTSE Board Report, published in December 2010 by Cranfield University School of Management, revealed that only 12.5% of FTSE 100 permanent board directors are women. The proportion is even lower in FTSE 250 companies where just 7.8% of directors are women.
Doug Baird, Managing Director at Interim Partners, says: “Women are increasingly attracted to working as interim managers. It offers them an alternative way to reach the very highest rungs of the corporate ladder.”
“Interims tend to be judged purely on results rather than how good they are at playing office politics, which is attractive to many women.”
“The unfortunate reality is that even at the most senior levels of an organisation there can be a bit of a locker room mentality but that is much less of an impediment for interims who don’t face pressure to win acceptance on that level in order to progress in the organisation.”
“It is extremely rare to see pay gaps between female and male interim managers, whereas there can be substantial gender pay inconsistencies within permanent management roles.”
Research by The Reward Technology Forum (RTF) found that the average female board director took home £178,246 in salary, bonuses, benefits and pension contributions in 2008-09, while the average male director received £357,358.
Doug Baird says: “Interims can earn significantly more than their permanent counterparts, so these roles enable women to break through the earnings glass ceiling they might face in permanent management roles.”
“When interims start a new role, they have to be able to hit the ground running and complete complex projects quickly and efficiently. Being able to communicate effectively, juggle demanding workloads and manage stakeholder expectations are all essential skills which all play to what are regarded as women’s traditional strengths.”
“If you are an interim entering a brand new working environment every six months to implement a substantial programme of change then you need first class diplomatic skills.”
“Many women also enjoy the wider variety of work which interim management offers. It is an entrepreneurial role, which is as close to running your own business as most executives will get within a corporate environment. Successful candidates relish this challenge.”
According to Interim Partners, women had previously been slower than men to become interims as they had felt that switching from a permanent role to become a contractor was too risky a move. However, senior management redundancies made in the last recession has shown that the safety of a full time job is not as robust as once thought.
Doug Baird: “When a company hits trouble there is now far less reluctance to find cost savings amongst senior management than before. The recession has shown that if a company does not need your skills then they will let you go.”
“Women realise that the risks of becoming an interim are not as great as they once were.”
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