Eighty per cent of women feel their employer is supportive of them but 44 per cent say their gender has hindered their career or will in the future.
This is the centre of a paradox that UK women face in the workplace – while many cite their organisation as being supportive of women, large numbers have also experienced prejudice and have seen their gender act as a barrier to their career progression, according to a new report from career coaching providers Talking Talent.
The research conducted among professional women and working mothers found more than seven in ten women rate their employer positively for retaining and progressing female talent. This support and positivity extends to working mothers as 71 per cent say their employer is supportive of them.
On the other hand, 36 per cent of women have experienced prejudice because of their gender and 37 per cent of working mothers said the same about motherhood. Twelve per cent of women have been passed over for promotion because of their gender.
Some sectors, however, are much better for women than others. Accountancy is the best sector for working women, with the highest scores for more positive indicators than any other profession. Female accountants are most likely to say their employer is supportive of women (94 per cent) and also most positive about their employer’s ability to retain female talent, with a third describing their employer as excellent compared to an average of one in five.
At the other end of the scale, women in advertising, marketing and media rate their industry as worst for progressing female talent and a majority have faced prejudice and discrimination (51 per cent).
Women in engineering and manufacturing are least likely to say they feel supported and least positive about their employer’s ability to retain female talent (11 per cent). They are most likely to say their gender has hindered their career progress, with the majority citing a male dominated environment as a key reason.
Chris Parke, CEO of Talking Talent, said: “While some sectors are doing better than others, it is clear that UK employers need to do more to ensure strategies to support women are being properly accepted and implemented at the operational level. At the same time, employers need to promote a culture where professional women are comfortable voicing concerns about barriers to their careers. The level of prejudice and discrimination towards women and working mothers, and the fact such a large proportion have been passed over for promotion due to their gender is shocking.
“If employers fail to stamp this out and to introduce measures to support women particularly through maternity, employers will miss out on a huge section of their top talent – something they can ill-afford to do in today’s competitive economy.”