Monday 11th June 2018

Leadership is Action, Not Words!

I am sure that many of you, like myself, cringed at the recent news that the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, had commented that the airline “has to be a led by a man” because the CEO role is “a very challenging position”. In the week that we celebrate 100 years since women first gained the vote, such comments take us back 100 years!

Anyone in a senior position with such a powerful role needs to think twice when speaking publicly on such matters, or they may find themselves the victim of a serious reaction from both women and men! Certainly, the men and women I have spoken to are disappointed that despite his “heartfelt apologies for any offence caused,” it is too little too late.

Recent reports on the Gender pay gap show that many large companies are falling short of evidencing that there are no gaps between average men’s and women’s pay. This also highlights that more needs to be done to drive forward opportunities for more women to take on leadership roles.

At 3aaa, we have significant numbers of female managers across all levels of the organisation and over 62% of our management apprentices are female. I’m proud to be part of a company that invests in our own management training and supports female apprentices into non-traditional sectors including technology, digital, finance and management.

Working with many of our employers and helping them to find solutions to improve their gender pay gap and recruit talented people into their businesses has been something I’ve been working on over recent weeks. A variety of initiatives have now started with a number of our employers and it will be exciting to see how these develop over the coming months – so watch this space for case studies.

Our levy clients now have various schemes to recruit women into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Manufacturing) jobs using national campaigns and this has been a real winner for our employers. Case studies of female apprentices running the entire digital arms of businesses will be used to showcase amazing young role models in high profile jobs, showing how critical they are to the success of these companies.

The biggest impact, however, has seen many of our employers devising dynamic management programmes to offer new promotion opportunities for female managers to progress and develop internally.

I’m proud to be part of an organisation that would never say only a man can do this job and even prouder to be working with employers who are proactive in using their levy funds to address the gender pay gap and support females in all roles in the workplace. I’m even more proud that many of the decision makers with these initiatives are men wanting to promote female colleagues into roles, even if they are “very challenging”.

Perhaps the CEO of Qatar Airways would like to come and speak at our next levy conference on Wednesday 12th September. I’m sure we would give him a run for his money and not let him off the hook quite so easily as his own board seems to have done!

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