Irish business group Ibec has revealed that although the numbers of women managers in business is improving, this is not the case in sectors like manufacturing and tech.

The latest “Women in Management” survey by Ibec shows real progress in female participation rates in management, while identifying that there are some challenges which need to be tackled as a matter of priority.

“Data from Ibec’s research unit shows an improvement in female participation across most sectors and management levels between 2001 and 2018,” explained Kara McGann, head of Social Policy at Ibec. However, it is clear that the concentration of one gender in certain occupations (horizontal segregation) or in certain grades or levels (vertical segregation) remains a challenge.

“Female participation in manufacturing, distribution, IT and particularly engineering roles remains relatively low possibly due to the underlying culture and norms often found within the industry and profession”

The survey found that there were more women at head of function level in 2018 compared with 2001 in most activities, showing an active pipeline of female talent coming through from lower management levels.

There were very high levels of female participation at head of function level in HR/Personnel (72pc), Customer services (53pc) and Finance/Accounting (39pc) in 2018.

Levels of female engagement at head of function level in IT, while improved between 2001 and 2018, remained relatively low (17pc).

Female participation at this level in Engineering and Environmental roles has increased, while in manufacturing and materials roles female participation rates have decreased between 2001 and 2018. Overall female participation in these roles remains low.

Stepping up

“A significant pipeline of female talent exists in certain gendered occupations such as HR/Personnel; Finance/Accounting and Customer Service, with the proportion of females at upper management levels rising significantly between 2001 and 2018

“However, while improved, female participation in manufacturing, distribution, IT and particularly engineering roles remains relatively low possibly due to the underlying culture and norms often found within the industry and profession.

“To address the challenges of occupational segregation requires a focus on tackling stereotypes and bias; considering the connection of targets to performance evaluation of managers and ensuring role models, mentors and sponsors are visible and available to all.”

Main image by CoWomen on Unsplash  

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 4 November, 2019

Recommended