‘We need more women to build back better’: says Ann Francke, head of the Chartered Management Institute
The head of the Chartered Management Institute has warned that Britain’s Covid recovery is at risk without Government intervention to get women into fast-growing industries.
Ann Francke, who runs the body that has more than 132,000 managers and business leaders as members, said just 17 per cent of staff in the technology sector are female, and 11 per cent in engineering. She said: ‘These areas face huge skill shortages. If we don’t get women in these areas we won’t be able to build back better.’
Moving forward: Ann Francke has warned that Britain’s Covid recovery is at risk without Government intervention to get women into fast-growing industries
Francke argued that, as bosses determine how and when to return office staff to desks, the Government should introduce legislation enshrining the right to flexible working. She said if that didn’t happen, women will be disproportionately affected, adding: ‘If it isn’t an employee’s right to work flexibly, the ones that will be more likely to be able to go back into the office are those with fewer caring responsibilities. Those tend to be men. Those who want to work flexibly are likely to be women and those with disabilities.’
She added: ‘I’m in favour of making these things Government policy, not only with regard to flexible working but to have a concerted effort between Government and industry getting women back into technical and engineering roles. It’s imperative.’
The American, who has run the CMI since 2012, is a veteran of corporate Britain, having held senior roles at Yell, Boots, Mars and Procter & Gamble. She said she had endured an environment ‘all about presenteeism’ as a director.
‘I was basically expected when I had these big, regional roles for global companies to sort of leave the house on a Sunday and fly all over the place and come back on Friday evening,’ she said. ‘I was a divorced single mom, that clearly was not going to work for me.’