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Female managers face brunt of public sector cuts

By Vivienne Russell | 9 May 2013

Women who are senior managers in the UK public sector are likely to be disproportionately affected by the government’s spending cuts, Ernst & Young has said.

Publishing its Worldwide index of women as public sector leaders, the consultants noted that women were much less likely to progress to senior positions than their male counterparts. According to the index, women occupy only 35% of senior jobs, despite making up two-thirds of the entire public sector workforce.

Twice as many female managers are likely to be affected by the loss of hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs, Ernst & Young said. A total of 710,000 jobs will be cut by 2017. In Southeast England, for example, women filled just over three-quarters of public sector jobs lost to date.

Björn Conway, government and public services partner at Ernst & Young, said: ‘In our globalising world, diversity is seen not only as an ambition but crucial to delivering more effective government and increased economic competitiveness.

‘But while diverse teams are proven to stimulate innovation and new ways of problem solving, there is an increasing acknowledgment that much work remains to be done before governments and business become truly representative of the societies in which they operate and serve.’

The index revealed that the proportion of women working in the public sector was higher in more developed economies but the ratio of those in leadership roles varied widely.

For instance, over half of public servants in Germany are female, but only 15% are in leadership jobs. In Brazil, just under half (48%) of public sector employees are female but 32% of leaders are women.

The index’s global findings were covered in depth on the PF International site.

An Ernst & Young commentary on the index can be read here.

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