EY mentors ex-sports women on an elite business track

01 April 2015 Consultancy.uk

To provide the leadership qualities of elite sportswomen a new environment in which to flourish after their sporting careers end, EY, in partnership with the International Women’s Forum, has set up a mentoring programme. In the programme, 25 sportswomen will be paired with top business women with the aim of helping the ex-sports toppers become thought leaders.

One of the things the public doesn’t often consider is the lot of the myriad of elite sports women after their sporting careers have stumbled over the last hurdle. Whether world champion or coming in second, not every elite contender is able to or wants to live out their days on their track record. And, after their sports careers have reached the wall, another high flying purpose may be grasped – yet getting there is not often a clearly marked out track.

To help light the way between sport and elite work life, EY set up its “Women Athletes Business Network” whose aim is to guide elite post-career sports women into leadership roles. According to the consulting firm, elite sports women are “by nature, high achievers, influential leaders and team players — ones who can make an impact, not only on the next generation of women in sport, but also within their communities and the world around them.” This is backed by its research that shows that sport participation is elemental in building leadership skills as well as team-building skills and by the fact that 94% of women executives have a background in sports. 

Women Athletes Business Network, EY and International Women’s Forum

To further the programme, set up to unlock the pre- business potential in elite sports women, EY recently partnered with the International Women’s Forum (IWF) to give a select group of 25 former elite athletes the opportunity to be mentored by some of the world’s most illustrious business women. The mentors include CEOs, lawyers, entrepreneurs and other influential leaders across the International Women’s Forum’s membership, all well versed in transitioning into leadership roles, having themselves made the transition.

Explaining the reason for the mentor scheme, Beth Brooke-Marciniak, EY’s Global Vice Chair of Public Policy, says: “Women need to be able to visualise the path forward to pursue these top positions – not only in the corporate world, but as entrepreneurs, government and not-for-profit leaders. This is why EY’s Women Athletes Business Network mentoring program is so powerful. By helping athletes understand how they can translate their unique skills gained through sport into impactful positions outside of sport, our IWF mentors can light the way and help shape these inspiring women into influential future leaders.” Marilyn Johnson, CEO International Women’s Forum, adds: “The IWF is dedicated to building better global leadership and is proud to collaborate with EY to support and mentor the first-ever cohort of the Women Athletes Business Network (WABN). This strategic alliance will help guide and nurture these rising women leaders through an important professional transition.” 

Moving into business as an female athlete

Besides mentorship, EY will continue taking an active role in supporting the leadership development of the women, by helping them connect with EY’s internal and external global business networks. EY’s commitment to support the transition of women into the upper echelons of business is highlighted with the launch of ‘Women. Fast forward’, project, which aims “to draw attention to the global gender gap issue and to call on others to accelerate change along with us.” 

Other supporting schemes
Sports women are not the only group that EY is supporting into the business world, the firm also has an active military recruitment programme aimed at supporting ex-service personnel into the workplace.



Women remain underrepresented in UK's hospitality industry leadership

12 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Female engagement at the top level of the UK hospitality industry is still lagging, with the vast majority of decision-making roles continue to be held by men. Only 7% of the industry’s FTSE 350 CEOs are women; however, the pay gap in hospitality and leisure is far better than in other industries, at a median of approximately 7%.

The hospitality, travel and leisure (HTL) sector is one of the UK’s largest employers, with 3.2 million people working in its segments. Despite a poor 2018 in terms of tightening consumer spending, the industry is still one of the top sectors in terms of economic activity, hitting £130 billion last year – besting the UK’s automotive, pharmaceutical and aeronautical sectors’ combined activities.

While the industry is one of the country’s largest employers, it still faces considerable issues around diversity at the top. New analysis from PwC has explored the matter, as well what initiatives the industry has engaged to open up its top ranks to a more diverse background.

Female representation at board level for UK companies and HTLs

According to a survey of CEOs, Chairs or HR Directors of over 100 of the most significant leisure businesses across the UK, the hospitality industry has a relatively male-dominated top level. This lags behind the FTSE 100, where companies have female board level representation at 32.2%. Meanwhile, the figure for the combined executive committee and direct reports stands at 28%. This is well above FTSE 250 levels, where female board level representation stands at 22.4% and executive committee & direct reports stand at 27.8%.

For the hospitality industry as a whole, board level representation came in at 23.6%, with FTSE 350 for the industry performing slightly better at 25.1%, while non-listed companies performed considerably worse at 18.2%. The firm notes that the figures hide that while some companies are making strides to improve equality, others are not moving forward – with the positive result reflecting more often the good work of some, while others are not taking the issue seriously in their agenda setting.

Blind spot

The study states, however, that while the overall numbers are relatively strong, the industry has a number of acute weaknesses. These include CEO numbers, with only 7% of HTL FTSE 350 companies helmed by women and 11% of non-listed companies led by female CEOs. Meanwhile, female chairs at FTSE 350 companies for the sector stand at zero. In terms of wider diversity representation, only 1 in 33 leaders at industry companies is from a BAME background.

Pay gap for HTL and hospitality

The report noted discrepancies between FTSE 100 companies and FTSE 250 in terms of improving the number of women at executive level. The majority have met the Hampton-Alexander Review target of 33% women at board level, up from around 25% in 2016. However, the remaining ~40% are not on target, and are unlikely to meet the target by 2020. A similar trend is noted when it comes to executive committee and direct reporting numbers.

Jon Terry, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting Leader at PwC, said, "To make real progress in diversity and inclusion, businesses need to elevate it onto the CEO’s agenda and align diversity & inclusion strategy to the fundamentals of the business."

Tracking progress FTSE 250 level

However, one area where hospitality travel and leisure companies are outperforming other companies in the wider UK economy, is the mean and median pay gap between men and women. PwC found that the median of the wider UK economy comes is approximately 14% – with upper quartile companies noted for a gap of low 20%, and lower quartile companies noted for differences of around 2%.

The median pay gap for HTL comes in at well below 7%, with the median close to parity. There are considerable differences, however, with hospitality at 7%, while travel comes in considerably higher, at 22%. The latter figure reflects fewer women in higher paid pilot and technical positions within the industry.