Reed Smith in collaboration with WeAreTheCity launches ‘The Art of Success’: a guide for women embarking on a career in the City of London

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Reed Smith, in collaboration with WeAreTheCity, has launched ‘The Art of Success’: a guide for women embarking on a career in the City of London.

The report is based on the findings of a survey of more than 100 senior female leaders to find out what it takes to survive and thrive as a female senior leader in the City.

The research found that there are certain characteristics that senior female leaders have in common including being ambitious and open-minded, with a strong work ethic.

The findings also highlighted areas where improvements could be made to ensure a smoother path to success:

  • Training – 29 per cent of those surveyed said that the training they had received had only been partially or somewhat helpful. Furthermore, only 14 per cent of women had received training or advice relating to negotiating salary increases.
  • Flexible working – with many women now taking advantage of flexible working policies to work from home (68 per cent of senior women work from home a minimum of one day a week) more needs to be done to consider how teams communicate to ensure that those not physically present are still contributing to conversations. This is essential if organisations are to get the best out of their workforce.
  • And lastly, career breaks – while taking a career break is not unusual: Two-thirds of those surveyed had taken a career break. Half of those had found that it negatively impacted their career progression.

One topic truly divided opinion: is there a place for emotion in the workplace? The research found a 50/50 split between those wishing to rein in their emotional side – including sensitivity and passion – and those who felt they should not hold back anything. With the next generation far more in tune with their emotions than generations of past, it might be time for all of us to start using our emotional intelligence more.

There were a few surprising findings such as just one in five senior women have worked part-time during their careers. The research also found that life at the top is on the whole ‘good’ – 41 per cent of women rated their work-life balance as good or excellent. Just ten per cent rated it as poor or unattainable in their chosen career.

The results show that while women are reaching the pinnacle of their professions, it’s not without struggles along the way. From suffering prejudice regarding flexible working patterns, to feeling as though their career progression has stalled due to maternity leave, there are still many structural issues that need to be addressed in the workplace to ensure a smoother path to success for future generations. Yet, with a growing number of female role models in the City and their unwavering commitment to mentoring others, there are positive indicators that the odds of success for the next generation are on the up.

Tamara Box, Reed Smith managing partner, Europe & Middle East saidd, “As more and more women move into leadership, we are opening doors and creating pathways for each other by developing a business community where women and men are equal in their capabilities, their contributions, and, of course, their successes.”

“Although no two career journeys are alike, we believe that sharing stories and advice from senior women may encourage others to fulfil their own potential.”

Vanessa Vallely, managing director of WeAreTheCity added, “The number of women reaching the pinnacle of their chosen career paths has never been higher, but what the figures don’t tell us are the stories behind the women who have achieved these senior positions and the barriers they have had to overcome to get there.”

“Our goal with ‘The Art of Success’ was to find out exactly what it takes to survive and thrive as a female senior leader in the City so as then to pass these words of wisdom down the female pipeline and share them with companies wishing to nurture their female talent pool.”

Read the full report here:

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