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Leaders Like You

The leadership commission

These issues led the WMCA to establish a Leadership Commission to explore ways of improving opportunities for people from those communities and groups which are currently under-represented in the leadership of the West Midlands. Over the past year, the Commission has worked on a research project with a number of the conurbation’s universities to:

  • Understand the current representation of key groups in leadership positions in the West Midlands.

  • Identify the barriers these groups face within the region.

  • Identify good practice in the private and public sectors.

  • Create a strategy and action plan with priorities for tackling leadership under- representation.

  • Launch early actions and initiatives aimed at addressing a number of these challenges.

  • Recommend a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the delivery of recommendations arising out of the research.

This is a summary report of this research, including recommendations from the Leadership Commission on strategies and actions that should be implemented by the WMCA, its partners and all those who can make a positive contribution to closing the leadership gap.

As far as we are aware, this work is a first amongst combined authorities and similar groupings, and we strongly believe its message needs to be taken up across the whole country, not only through the WMCA area.

The research

The research was led by the University of Birmingham. It involved:

  • An extensive review of studies and existing data on leadership and diversity in general and, more specifically, in the West Midlands.
  • A survey of data and diversity policies and initiatives across many organisations, mainly in the public sector.
  • 18 focus groups involving 139 people including employers, employees from under- represented groups and students.
  • Case studies of people in leadership positions and interviews with people involved in work to promote leadership diversity.
What this report covers

The next chapter of this report summarises the data available on leadership diversity in the West Midlands. It focuses on women, people with disabilities and BAME people but touches on other under-represented groups where data is available.