Monthly Archives: March 2011

Coming Week beginning 28 March

Here’s what’s on our plate next week

Monday:
VP Siim Kallas (Transport) gives a press conference on the Commission’s Transport White Paper
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (Science and Innovation) meets Paul Walsh, CEO of Diageo

Tuesday:
HR/VP Catherine Ashton attends the London conference on Libya
John Dalli (Health and Consumer Protection) meets Sir John Beddington, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser

Wednesday:
Gunther Oettinger (Energy) meets Sir John Beddington, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser
Business for New Europe, Fabian Society and others hold event on the future of the eurozone after the economic crisis at Europe House

Thursday:
VP Siim Kallas (Transport) meets Philip Hammond, UK Secretary of State for Transport

Friday
Michel Barnier (Internal Market) visits London, where he will meeet Business Secretary Vince Cable, attend Trustee Meeting of the IFRS Foundation and visit the Chairman and Board of Supervisors of the European Banking Authority

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Where my career has taken me

More graphic madness today. I’m doing a careers presentation at Leicester University next week and in an affort to make it a bit more viewer-friendly, I put together a Google map of everywhere I have visited around the world in a professional capacity. My favourite is the one right at the top – Svalbard. What an amazing place…

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Women in the Commission

Some interesting stats have come my way relating to women in policy grades and management positions in the European Commission. I find them particularly interesting because they start the first year I joined.

The first table refers to all policy grades.

Women in policy grades in the EC

When I joined 23.9% of policy grade post-holders were women and now 41.6% are. So that’s a clear improvement. It’ll be interesting to see if the introduction of the new format entrance exams affects those figures in the future.

Next table is women in middle management, that is heads of section, deputy heads of unit and heads of unit. I’m not sure whether my current position as head of sector in a rep counts as a middle management job, but this is the kind of job I would expect to have when I leave London in a few year’s time.

Women in middle management in the EC

This shows that women are under-represented at middle management in the Commission. This is of course logical, as the figure for women in middle management in 2010 is broadly the same as the figure for all policy grade women in 1995. As it takes about 10-15 years to work your way up to those grades, that makes sense (at least on one level). Will that trend continue? Will it take to 2025 to see 40% of middle management posts occupied by women?

The final graph is women at senior management level, that is Director, Deputy Director-General, Director-General.

Women in senior management posts in EC

Here growth has been steeper, aside from the drop in 2004, which is probably due to new senior level posts and occupants from the new entrant countries (I don’t know whether they have a better or worse record on equality, though the figures suggest “worse” at least at senior level). While 22% certainly looks a lot better than 4%, it still means that 78% of jobs are going to men.

Clearly the overall situation has improved. But there is still a way to go for young women in policy grades to feel that they have role models in the upper echelons. The Commission has undoubtedly sought to introduce policies that allow a better reconciliation of work and family life (flexi- and tele-working, discouraging late evening meetings etc) but I still have the feeling that this is only dealing with some of the problem. Work/life balance affects women, certainly, but men have children too, and also have a lot to gain from family-friendly HR policies. And not all women have children. Encouraging women to apply for senior positions, and having a system in place that recognises a variety of experience and approach (rather than having a specific-shaped peg in mind) are both important as well.

I’m sure there are more profound things to say about these figures, and I’d like to hear them.

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