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Women on Boards Latest EU soundings highlight need to make voluntary approach work, says AER Chair

Women on Boards – Latest EU soundings highlight need to make voluntary approach work, says AER Chair

The Women on Boards debate continues to be of major political and media interest on both a national and EU level. Positioning the positive role that recruiters can play in this area is a key campaign for the REC’s Association of Executive Recruiters (AER).

Earlier this week, the Vice President of the European Commission Viviane Reding argued that insufficient progress was being made with only one in seven board members at Europe's top firms being a woman. She said: "I'm not a fanatic about quotas but I like the results they bring. At this rate, it would take more than 40 years to reach a significant gender balance”.

Responding this, Business Secretary Vince said: "we don't think quotas are needed at the moment as the UK is making voluntary approach work". However, the use of the words & lsquo;at the moment’ are telling and confirm that the business community needs to  be on front foot to deliver tangible progress:

Reviewing the latest developments, David Winterburn, Chair of the Association of Executive Recruiters (AER), says:

 “There is a genuine commitment within most organisations to change the current makeup but making this happen on the ground is a challenge. This is where search and selection professionals can help make a difference.

“Achieving the tipping point must involve breaking down structural barriers and rethinking policies to support women with young children or caring responsibilities. Developing effective mentoring and support networks are also key to helping women navigate their career paths.

“In the short-term, executive recruiters have a pivotal role to play by reaching out to more women candidates and providing practical support and coaching. This week’s discussions in Brussels have underlined the need for us to take the lead and show that progress can be made without need for quotas”.


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