MITIE’s CEO, Ruby McGregor Smith took to the airwaves yesterday and also addressed business leaders at a high profile event to launch the Women’s Business Council report, which aims to boost women’s role in economic growth.
‘Women should not just try to fit into the economy, they should be shaping it’ is one of the key aims of the report, which was unveiled yesterday at the London Stock Exchange, in front of an audience drawn from across the world of business. McGregor-Smith also took to the airwaves on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland to further promote the initiative.
Chaired by Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE, chief executive of FTSE 250, outsourced service provider, MITIE, the WBC is an independent one year working group established by the government in 2012.
The new report “Maximising women’s contribution to future economic growth” focuses on how we can make the most of women’s contribution to economic growth through all stages of their careers. This untapped potential includes 2.4 million women who are not working and want to work and a further 1.3 million women who want increase their hours. The report also highlights that equalising participation rates of men and women in the labour market, could increase economic growth by 0.5 percent a year, with potential gains of around 10% to GDP by 2030.
It also looks into addressing the obstacles at all stages of women’s careers, such as broadening career choices, helping to access childcare and providing the necessary skills to start new businesses.
Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE, chief executive of MITIE and Chair of the Women’s Business Council, said:
“I am passionate about making sure obstacles for women to work at different stages of their careers are removed, and UK business has a hugely important role to play in achieving this.
“Now is the time for all businesses to act. Through the implementation of the WBC’s recommendations, we can unblock the talent pipeline that for so long has restricted women from reaching the most senior levels in business – and deliver long-term economic benefits for the UK.”
The WBC report’s key findings and recommendations for Government and business are:
- that there is an overwhelming business case, supported by strong evidence, for maximising women’s contribution to growth;
- that we need to broaden young women’s aspirations and job choices before the start of their working lives by creating a partnership between schools, businesses and parents;
- business needs to embrace the benefits of flexible working and understand how best to support working parents in the second stage of their career;
- women in the third phase of working life offer great untapped potential;
- there is a strong case for providing more support for women who want to setup their own businesses.
Sir Roger Carr, President of the CBI, who attended yesterday’s launch said:
“The recommendations the council are making will have a major and positive impact on the futures of our young women today – ensuring they make the best career choices they can, receive the business set up support they need and are given the opportunities they deserve. As President of the CBI, I know that diverse work forces translate into high performing businesses. I fully endorse the work of the council and encourage other business leaders to champion the recommendations in their own organisations.”
In April 2013, MITIE was named as one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women, for the third consecutive year, illustrating its commitment to gender equality.
The firm has a a variety of programmes aimed at retaining female talent, including dedicated maternity coaching, flexible working, company-wide mentoring, and an externally chaired diversity steering committee.
Other recent initiatives include a partnership with charity Working Chance to assist women offenders in making the transition back into work, and a targeted campaign to encourage women into under-represented trade apprenticeships such as plumbing and construction.