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UK - SThree boss keen to boost opportunities for women

23 January 2014

In an interview with This is Money, the CEO of SThree, Gary Elden, highlighted how his company is looking to change the way management talent-spots the next generation of potential top bosses, so that able female candidates do not lose out.

He told This is Money, “In the workplace, men push their chests out, but what I find, in general, is that if a woman is good at her job, she expects to be noticed and rewarded without having to be pushy. The female attitude is that they should be offered the promotions they deserve, they shouldn’t have to ask. Women will not start shouting about themselves like men do, or behaving like men, so we have to educate our managers to see these different male and female styles.”

With no women on its Executive Board and only one among its Senior Management team (Natasha Clarke, Director of Strategic Capability and Organisational Development) SThree has developed a Diversity & Inclusion initiative called ‘Identity’. The initiative was originally launched in 2011 to address the lower representation of senior women at SThree, in particular in management roles by providing tools and information, developing a support network, highlighting successful role models, and holding forums to share ideas.

The company states on its website that, “Our culture is founded on the idea that we are a meritocracy. And yet, when you look at the number of women who make their way to senior management roles in SThree, it raises some questions. Why in a culture where the best rise to the top based on how they perform, do women start to become less prevalent the further they go up the business, when nearly half our new starters are female?”

This is Money suggest that, because he has two young daughters of his own, Elden is evangelical about breaking down barriers for women in the workplace. He said, ‘My daughters, they look at Barbie or Cinderella where the male comes along to save the princess – but nowadays, the idea of waiting for your prince to come on a white horse, rather than achieving things for yourself is not so strong.’

Elden admits there are problems: “Some female managers find it hard to manage other women. Equally, some young women prefer working with male managers and fear they will clash with a female boss. It is a challenge.”

Elden also sits on the Lord Mayor of London’s diversity forum for CEOs and wants to encourage more girls to study sciences at school and to go into engineering.

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