According to a new ‘Women’s Leadership Development Survey by Mercer , it found that more than two thirds (67%) of the 450 European companies surveyed had no defined strategy or philosophy for developing women into leadership roles and lacked suitable programs and initiates to support the development of talented women as leaders.
More than two-fifths (41%) of the employers surveyed do not offer any activities or programmes targeted at the development needs of women leaders. While 21% of organisa¬tions said they offer some activities or programmes, such as flexible time arrangements, mentoring and coaching, another 11% said they are planning to add these in the future – surpassing a global average of 6%.

Many of the respondents,( 48%) felt that orgainsistaion only provided moderate support for the development of women, while 14% said to a great extent, and 25% said to a small extent. Eleven percent said it is not supported at all.

Dagmar Wilbs, a senior partner in Mercer’s human capital business, said: “While there is an apparent lack of concern around most aspects of women’s leadership development, there are signs that this is changing. Women’s leadership is increasingly being discussed throughout the business world and starting to gain a foothold on CEOs’ strategic agendas. Many countries are also considering establishing requirements for female representation in senior management as part of a larger diversity goal.”

When asked about the types of programmes currently offered that specifically tar¬get the needs of women as leaders, the top programs listed by employers were flexible work arrangements, mentoring, coaching and diversity sourcing/recruiting. These same four programmes were identified by respondents as most effective in developing women leaders.
Wilbs added: “Our research shows that companies are uncertain about what is appropriate and what is effective with respect to women’s leadership development. Additionally, when companies do take steps to support women, they often focus narrowly on tactics like flexible work schedules. This may be a good starting point, but not the final solution.”