Cynicism is setting in across the corporate world, with men in middle management feeling threatened, and believing that their chances of being promoted are now zero because of their firm’s headline targets for women. This is clearly not the case, but nonetheless there are too many firms that are setting ridiculous headline targets for women in leadership that are not achievable, given low turnover at the top.

High-level metrics are relatively slow moving because the tenure of incumbents is usually quite long. In most firms, partners stay for decades. While it may be good for businesses, it’s a significant challenge for gender balance progress. What firms need to do to ‘shift the needle’ as regards women in leadership roles, is to identify precise actions that will bring about change within their individual firms.