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Men ignorant to gender inequality

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Eighteen percent of men compared to 45 percent of women think that equally capable male and female colleagues are not paid or rewarded in an equal manner.

21 percent of men compared to 48 percent of women do not believe that the same career opportunities are available to all, regardless of gender. In the UK, 41 percent of people do not believe their colleagues are paid in an equal manner and the same number don’t think that the same career opportunities are available to all. Just 9 percent of respondents believe gender quotas can have a big impact; instead flexible working and cultural change are key. Women are less likely than their male co-workers to believe that pay equality and equal opportunities exist for both genders in the workplace, according to a new survey by recruiting experts Hays.

Hays, an organisation known for supporting the advancement of women in the workplace, says that although progress is being made, gender diversity remains a business critical issue. In the Hays global survey of almost 6,000 people, released for International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March, 18 percent of men think that equally capable male and female workers are not paid or rewarded equally, compared to 45 percent of women. In the UK, the figures are even more startling, with 17 percent of men compared to 57 percent of women thinking that male and females are not paid or rewarded in an equal manner. The survey also found that almost one in two women (48 percent) compared to one in five men (21 percent) say that the same career opportunities are not open to equally capable colleagues of both genders. In the UK, the figure was a slightly greater proportion than the global average with figures of 56 percent of women and 18 percent of men.

What did people think would improve gender diversity?

‘Make It Happen’ is the International Women’s Day 2015 theme, which calls for greater gender equality. To do that, almost one in two (44 percent) of the survey respondents say that more flexible working practices would have the biggest impact on improving gender diversity in their workplace. This was equal to changes to workplace culture through education across the business (44 percent globally, 49 percent for the UK), highlighting female role models (32 percent), changes to organisational policy (32 percent), changes to government policy (27 percent) and better board backing for diversity issues (26 percent). Just 9 percent of respondents said implementing quotas would have a big impact, showing the vast majority believe that cultural change and practical measures, rather than formal quotas, are the answer.

“Our survey shows there is a major disparity between the views of men and women when it comes to equal pay and equal opportunities and this is more apparent in the UK than many other countries,” says Nigel Heap, Managing Director of Hays UK & Ireland. “We found that more women than men think the sexes aren’t paid or rewarded equally, while more than double the number of women compared to men say the same career options are not open to both genders. It suggests that most people in executive and senior management roles – the majority of which are men – still fail to see any inequality when it comes to pay and career opportunities between the sexes. This lack of recognition is a real obstacle to change.

“The problem is particularly acute in the UK where fewer women believe that reward is equal compared to the global figure. However, the UK is aligned with the global perspective when it comes to the changes that people think will have a big impact on diversity and it is clear that cultural workplace changes are needed if we are to make inroads with this issue. Many organisations now have specific programmes in place to address diversity issues and initiatives like Hays Leading Women are helping but it is clear we still have lots of ground to make up.”  

Hays surveyed 5,949 people across 31 countries during December 2014 and January 2015. The survey received responses from over 700 people based in the UK. 

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