Mentoring can help bridge the senior gender gap

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Women make up only 27% of directors in the FTSE 100 and 23% in the FTSE 350

Effective mentoring can help to bridge the gender gap in senior positions, according to research from Moving Ahead and Deloitte.

The report, Turning the gender diversity dial, found that 87% of mentors and mentees from the 30% Club’s 2016/17 mentoring programme felt empowered by their mentoring relationships and had developed greater confidence. Meanwhile, 82% believed that mentoring relationships had helped foster meaningful connections between mentors and mentees, across departments and the organisation.

As women make up only 27% of directors in the FTSE 100 and 23% in the FTSE 350, Moving Ahead and Deloitte’s researchers suggested mentoring is particularly important for women.

More than three in five (64%) women reported that their mentoring relationship has helped them become more aware of their potential within their role and beyond, and 70% reported that their mentoring relationship helped them develop new skills that they now apply in the workplace.

Liz Dimmock, founder and CEO of Moving Ahead, highlighted how mentoring can help bridge the gender gap. “The power of mentoring in the context of developing gender diversity is something I have a real passion for and belief in, and I’m seeing an increasing emphasis on mentoring as a solution to the gender balance challenge,” she said.

“Organisations approach gender-based mentoring in different ways, with a range of formal and informal solutions implemented across many organisational layers and cross-sector projects.”

She said that the effects of mentoring can be broad. “It’s clear that when mentoring is done well it creates a ripple effect that enhances broader development programmes, broader diversity and also, crucially, inclusion,” she said. “As they say: 'the rising tide lifts all boats'. I’m confident that we’ll see the effects of gender-based mentoring expand to benefit women and men, the organisations they work for and lead, and society as a whole.”

Clare Martin, group HR director at Jardine Motors Group, said that clarity is essential for an effective mentoring scheme. “For mentoring programmes to be most effective, organisations really need to be clear about why they are getting people mentored, and mentors and mentees must understand the time commitment and effort required to get the most from their relationship,” she said.

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