As business leaders, we know good people are hard to find. Yet without a strong and visible investment in talent, organisations will not survive in today’s volatile and competitive marketplace. Women represent the most powerful, yet untapped talent resource we have. As this report will demonstrate, this is not a platitude but a fact. That is why we have worked hard for many years within our own organisations to create effective programmes focused on women’s advancement and leadership.
Through the Women’s Business Council, we have brought our skills and efforts together to create one unifying force and play our part in accelerating women’s progress in the workplace.
In June 2013, we published a wide-ranging set of practical recommendations for government and business, which sought to address the missing economic potential at every stage of a woman’s life. From raising the aspirations of young girls, to maximising career development and flexible working opportunities, to ensuring more women have the opportunity to start and grow their own businesses – all our recommendations are based on a clear business case for action.
‘The Women and the Economy – Government Action Plan’, launched on 7 November 2013, set out some challenging measures to improve opportunities for women and girls. However, we are clear that Government alone cannot bring about the long- lasting cultural change this country needs. Change will only happen when business steps up to the plate and empowers the broadest pool of talent.
Our recommendations have been designed to fundamentally shift business culture. They contain simple but compelling steps that, if taken up, will make a real difference.