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How do women in business really feel about their opportunities at work?
The drive for better gender parity in the workplace, particularly at management level, has been ever more evident in recent years. However, in the UK this is a complex situation with a whole range of factors at play. To get a better understanding of how working UK women feel about their prospects and some of the barriers they face, we partnered with Friend Partnership Limited to conduct a large-scale study. It has found that while progress has been made in improving working environments to support women, there remain a number of obstacles around work-life balance and lack of flexibility. The research aimed to answer the question: can we truly “have it all?”
The findings have been divided into five areas and below are some key insights from the survey.
The views of female business owners
- 33% of business owners feel that parental leave is too long.
- 73% feel that it is difficult to work part-time in a senior role.
- 85% agree that business must offer flexible working conditions to attract high-performing women.
Education, early role models and influencers
- 22% of women with an undergraduate felt that they progressed slower than they expected.
- 32% with a postgraduate degree felt the same.
- Respondents commented on the necessity of promoting a different image of women in society.
Sacrifices and pace of progression
- Women aged between 30 and 50 are more likely to feel their career progression has been slower than they expected.
- Common themes for why women feel their careers had slowed down include gender stereotypes such as the expectation that women will have children and leave the business.
Hurdles to success
- 31% of business owners and 38% of board-level executives believing the working environment for women has ‘improved considerably’.
- 40% of employees in more junior roles feel that there have been no improvement in the working environment.
Advice to younger self
- Self-belief was listed as the number one piece of advice that women would give to their younger selves.
- This was followed by taking actions such as: speak up, take risks, and make the most of all opportunities available.
The report reflects positive changes in the working environment for women, although there are a number of challenges that were also flagged in juggling the conflicting priorities that women face. It is clear that flexible working is one answer to these challenges but also poses a significant obstacle for businesses, particularly SMEs. View our on-demand webinar ‘Flexible working: reduce costs and boost productivity in your SME’ for insight into how you can implement a dynamic working solution to best support the women in your business.
Download the full Women in Business: Can we truly “have it all?” report here:
For an insight into the inclusivity of your business, why not try our new tool, the Inclusivity Mapper? Simply answer five short questions and we will send you a tailored report on how inclusive your organisation is compared to the industry you operate within. Alternatively, if you would like to explore how we can help with recruiting in your industry and boosting the diversity of your team, get in touch with your local Michael Page office for a confidential discussion.