The news that PwC has appointed its first female regional leader in Scotland is a welcome development for gender equality in business – congratulations to the firm, and also to Claire Reid.
Recent reports suggesting that RBS is set to appoint Alison Rose as its next chief executive are also welcome.
Yet paradoxically the news also serves to highlight how much more work needs to done when it comes to gender equality in the boardroom.
Such an appointment, especially one involving the development and promotion of internal female talent, is of course good news by any measure. However, there’s no escaping the fact that more needs to be done – particularly when it comes to the gender pay gap.
The stats published in April on the UK gender pay gap revealed an almost complete lack of change on the previous year.
Change can’t be expected to happen overnight. But that lack of a shift in a year is a concern.
Diversity and inclusion, with women as a subset of that, is very much topical. But the question has to be asked – how many companies have a more than a statement paying lip service to gender equality? How many companies have a policy and plan in place?
At RTC, we believe more proactive action needs to be taken. There must be a raft of talented women out there who could be developed into more senior roles.
Through our Women As Leaders programme we extol the irrefutable business case that workplaces and board rooms are greatly enhanced by the presence of motivated, focused and influential women.
We believe it’s critical to support women by establishing the gap between where they are at and where they want to get to in their careers. But how many companies are actively helping their future female leaders?
Our experience through Women As Leaders is that when companies do take action the results are demonstrable.
For example, we’ve been working with AstraZeneca for several years and the women who have been through our WAL programme are two and a half times more likely to be promoted than those haven’t gone through the programme.
In addition, we’ve worked with more than a 1000 women in more than 30 countries and our experience across the board is that it produces demonstrably positive results each time.
As PwC have shown, progress is taking place. But we look forward to a time when this kind of appointment isn’t news.