"Business leaders must take responsibility for building an effective talent pipeline, and make it a commercial priority to proactively identify, develop and promote potential leaders of both sexes."
Meanwhile, in response to the German government's threat to impose a quota, Angelika Dammann, executive board member at Germany-based company SAP told the Financial Times: "We are in favour of actively promoting women instead of a strict quota."
The IL&M also found that a lack of confidence and career ambition among women can impede their career progress.
Only half of the female managers surveyed described themselves as 'high' levels of confidence, compared to 70 percent of men. In addition, just half of women expected to reach managerial level when their started their careers, compared to almost two-thirds of men.
Despite this, women were more likely than men to have entrepreneurial ambitions. A quarter of women under 30 aimed to start their own business within 10 years.
"Employers need to find ways to nurture women's ambition. This means developing transparent talent management systems and introducing [flexible] leadership career models and development approaches. Coaching and mentoring, in particular, have an invaluable role to play here," said de Valk.
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