Women still missing in manager ranks

RESEARCH may show women in management is good for business, but only 22 per cent of 1200 Australian chief executives say they've appointed - or intend to appoint - a female senior manager.

A new survey found 75 per cent of CEOs of small to mid-sized firms said no when asked if they had any women in senior management, or intended to appoint any. Only 35 per cent of CEOs said they were requiring women to be shortlisted for senior roles.

Christine Christian, the former head of Dun & Bradstreet Australia and now vice-president of Chief Executive Women, commissioned the survey. She said many small to medium-sized businesses were just managing to maintain healthy margins, competitiveness and profitability.

''There's no head room to think strategically despite evidence showing that on nearly every business measure, gender diversity and leadership has a sizeable improvement on business performance,'' Ms Christian said.

Helen Conway, the director of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, says the case for gender equality is clear, but clearly some organisations ''haven't bought into it''. It may be 25 years since the Sex Discrimination Act was passed in Australia, but the lack of women in management and pay inequity between men and women remained two outstanding issues.