Tim Buckley Owen Holes in the Industry Glass Ceiling
Jinfo Blog

Tuesday, 22nd May 2007 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added

By Tim Buckley Owen


Successful women in the information industry have given a mixed reaction to a recent report which suggests that women may be stepping off the career ladder before they hit the glass ceiling. According to a survey based on figures from the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Monks pay database, there’s been a 40% decline in women in senior management level posts in the FTSE 350 leading companies over the past five years. PWC suggests that the 27% increase in the cost of child care over a similar period might be one factor – but there is also evidence that more women are going into business for themselves. The latest Department of Trade & Industry Small Business Survey shows that the proportion of businesses wholly or predominantly owned by women has risen to 17%. So are these trends reflected in our own sector? ‘My own perception is that this observation is probably less true within the information industry,’ says Jackie Marfleet, Senior Manager Business Advisory Services at Ernst & Young LLP. ‘I can think of a number of women in senior positions and I don't think they're jumping off the career ladder any sooner than their male counterparts,’ she continues. ‘I do however feel that, relative to other professions, senior managers within the information industry tend to move companies less frequently.’ Gwenda Sippings left a senior position in the corporate legal environment to take a director's role in central government, with a place on the Inland Revenue's Management Committee. After three years and a merger with HM Customs and Excise, she decided to take a career break, and is now established as an independent consultant. ‘In central government there was an acknowledged intention to ensure that women had the opportunity to progress to top management levels,’ Gwenda says. ‘I was active in a strong Cabinet Office led Senior Women's Network, in the Whitehall and Industry Women's Group, and I was sponsored on the Civil Service's residential Top Management Programme.’ Going into business for yourself is certainly a good career move, believes information industry recruitment specialist Sue Hill. ‘Having my own company allows me the utmost flexibility which is something that is often not there in “traditional” employment,’ she says. ‘Women are smart and see that if they work for themselves they can make the rules.’ However, she adds, ‘A quick snapshot of the most senior people or highest achievers on our books over the last 10 or so years shows that the majority of women who have gone to the highest levels did not have children.’ This is not to say that women who have children stop developing, but ‘the break of 1-10 years usually results in a down shift at re-start time’. PriceWaterhouseCoopers Monks survey data available to download at: http://www.ukmediacentre.pwc.com/Content/Detail.asp?ReleaseID=2254&NewsAreaID=2 Daycare Trust Childcare Cost Survey 2006: http://www.daycaretrust.org.uk Labour Force Survey, Women’s Business Ownership report: http://www.sbs.gov.uk/SBS_Gov_files/researchandstats/WomensBusinessOwnershipMainReport.pdf DTI annual Small Business Survey: http://www.sbs.gov.uk/sbsgov/action/detail?type=RESOURCES&itemId=7000027837

« Blog

What's new at Jinfo?

Focus on Value Chain

Document the value chain, and transform the way you think about, manage and report on your product portfolio and your information service contributions to your organisation goals.

Focus on Value Chain

Focus on Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is a required process for a healthy information department. It gauges the ability of your services, team, portfolio and overall value to withstand stress.

Focus on Risk Assessment

Sorry, there seems to be a problem with Webinar and Community listings. Please let us know, by email to support@jinfo.com. Thank you.

Benefit from our research

Our proven processes, resources and guidance will help your team make the shift from transaction centre to strategic asset.


Designed around the most common challenges and pain points for time- and resource-strapped information teams

Supercharge remote productivity and value
Holistic content portfolio management
Future-proof your information service
Executive-ready communications


A tailored overview of our research and active discussion with your Jinfo analyst.


Measure your starting point to articulate your strengths and set priorities for future improvements. Assessments gauge risk, capacity, value and more.

Read case studies, and start the conversation:

Consulting benefits

Connect your team with the practical tools, original research and expertise to build and support information strategy in your organisation.

A Jinfo Subscription gives access to all Content (articles, reports, webinars) and Community.

Subscription benefits