The development of women in interim management


In coordination with our partner, the firm Hero’es and associates, specialized on the theme of gender equality


Today, we are one momentum away from professional equality.

No one will have been unaware that, after years of timid progress with mixed effects, professional equality is on the agenda. For a long time ignored by companies and employees themselves, in recent years the State has taken up the subject to impose gender equality in the workplace on companies and organisations through an increasing number of laws and incentives. As recently as 4 December 2019, Marlène Schiapa, Secretary of State for Gender Equality, and Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, relaunched a public consultation on the subject with a view to preparing a draft law for 2020.


The French legislative context and the current situation in companies

The Coppé Zimmerman Act (2011) was introduced to help achieve gender diversity in management committees. The aim is to achieve a fixed quota of at least 40% women for companies with at least 250 employees. An extension of this law is due to take place in 2020.

To date, according to studies by Opinion Way, Forbes, BPCE, Cadre Dirigeant Magazine and Her’oes & associates, our thematic partner, we find that of the 50% of women starting out in a company, only 30% manage to be promoted to the rank of director and only 10% to top management.

Among the luckiest are only 28 women among the top 500 fortunes worldwide.

In 2019, out of 400 companies in more than one million data sets, there is also a significant gap in the presence of women between the beginning and the end of their careers, particularly in the Legal and Finance sectors. Indeed, the proportion of women at the beginning of their careers has risen from 75% and 54% respectively, to only 43% and 25% of senior executives at the end of their careers.

The gap is smaller in the Communication and Human Resources sectors, with 70% of women at the beginning of their careers compared with 50% of senior managers at the end of their careers.

Again according to the same study, and not surprisingly, the sectors where women are least represented are Industry, IT and Logistics, with only 17%, 19% and 25% of women managers respectively.

Culturally, women lag behind men in terms of career opportunities and apply less for management positions than their male counterparts. On the other hand, for the more combative ones, they are more likely to be victims of prejudices such as having too much empathy for a position that requires them to be firm and irreducible. This is the phenomenon more commonly referred to as the “glass ceiling” which still too often prevails over the heads of a majority of women in France.


The role and benefits of Interim Management

The interest of interim management is to go beyond these barriers. Indeed, current practice in companies means that, despite complementary skills, women are paid on average 20 to 30% less than men.

Even if women have a definite predisposition to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, have empathy and a natural capacity for active listening, it will no longer be a question of gender but of relational and operational skills in interim management.

As politics no longer has a place in this type of exercise of skills, women and men interim managers have just as much opportunity and a place.


Anne-Sophie BARRAUX, experienced HR Director and member of the FIT in NETWORK® network shares her experience with us:

I have been recognised in my profession for my skills, sometimes jostled because of the nature of the projects I have carried out, but never because I am a woman!

I have gained the confidence of Directors and my peers, and have trained employees in the implementation of projects through my tenacity and leadership. I have not had to fight against a relentless machismo.

I do not believe in gender equality but in parity: a woman will never perform her duties like a man and vice versa. The range of soft skills used to manage a company, a project, to motivate teams is not the same, for me it is a question of complementarity“.


The analysis of the firm Her’oes & associate, recognized in the profession

According to Her’oes & Associates, today in France the evolution is not due to technicality and therefore expertise, but to management capacities. Indeed, in many companies, the managerial path is considered as the royal road and often the only one to evolve.

When we look at the statistics, while women represent 48% of the working population, they are only 14% in managerial positions and there are 2% female CEOs, hence the expression “glass ceiling”, which probably has a hard skin in business circles. So not only are developments slower, but there is no guarantee that they won’t lead to top management positions, all other things being equal.

According to Women Equity’s survey of 38,000 SMEs, a company run by a man has a very low turnover compared to a company run by a woman. Conversely, a company run by a woman has a much better profitability than a company run by a man. Turnover and profitability are the two performance criteria. There is therefore a real interest in accepting gender diversity and equity in favour of women in business.

Interim management requires speed and leadership in order to successfully complete the transformation and achieve the objectives set by the client, within a given timeframe. Both a man and a woman are capable of holding their own, being able to make decisions and apply their skills.


The position of our FIT in NETWORK® in the advancement of women

In light of the legislative context and the findings of the skills market, our FIT in NETWORK® network is also committed to the fair promotion of women in our interim management professions.

Today, women represent only 20% of our voluntary members in our community of experts, which already includes more than 600 professionals, and we are committed to developing this proportion with the aim of doubling it within five years. This is why we are also committed, in all our assignments, to shortlisting at least one woman interim manager for the final presentation to our clients who, in the end, decide on the best “FIT” in relation to their expectations.

For all these reasons, if you are a woman, an interim manager or aspiring interim manager, I invite you to join our network of experts in one of our three business lines: Management, Finance and Human Resources to give you maximum professional visibility within THE platform for interim management and timesharing.

To join us >>>

Bruno d’Artagnan

President of the FIT in NETWORK® network

 NB : I thank @Anne-Sophie Barraux and Hero’es and associates for their contribution.