New research suggests that UK business is potentially missing out on £5bn a year because companies are leaving women in middle management roles rather than allowing them to reach the top.

Research commissioned by Alexander Mann Solutions and networking organisation Everywoman found that 43% of women in middle management roles feel they are likely to leave their current employer within two years.

The report, based on UK research involving 400 female middle managers and 200 HR leaders working in the same organisations found that the aspects of work that female middle managers were least satisifed with were the lack of opportunity (48%) and clarity of career path (40%).

‘Focus on the pipeline: Engaging the full potential of female middle managers’ also portrayed the differing opinions between HR leaders and the female middle managers themselves. While 81% of female middle managers feel lack of progression is a problem, just 62% of HR leaders agree.

Co-founder of Everywoman, Karen Gill, said:

“After 13 years of working with women in business, we know all about the frustrations and challenges that women face.

“While diversity is much more front of mind than several years ago, some companies still don’t know where to start to unlock the productivity of their female middle managers.”

Rosaleen Blair, the founder and CEO of Alexander Mann Solutions, said:

“Focusing on increasing the numbers of women on boards is missing the fundamental problem of how to improve the pipeline of talented women from middle management to senior management. Female talent is often lost at this middle management level, so businesses need to give this segment of the workforce more attention.”