This month marks the 109th celebration of International Women’s Day. While the UK has taken great steps in striving for women’s rights over the last century, City & Guilds Group’s new research highlights the myriad of challenges that still unfairly plague women attempting to climb the career ladder.
According to City & Guilds Group’s report – which is based on findings from labour market economists Emsi and a poll of 5,000 working age people in the UK – alongside battling gender pay gaps and juggling primary care giving responsibilities, women are more than twice as likely to work part-time than their male peers (26% vs 12%), and are far more likely to hold no management responsibilities (49% vs 39%).
Kirstie Donnelly, CEO at City & Guilds Group, commented:“While we have certainly made strides in levelling the playing field for gender equality, there is still a long way to go to ensure true equality in the workplace as women are still locked out of many top jobs. UK unemployment is at a record low, but skills gaps are growing, and the needs of the workplace are evolving at an incredible pace, making it more important than ever for businesses to seize the potential of everyone within their workforce – regardless of their gender or contract terms. So many women are being denied valuable opportunities to upskill or progress, worryingly driven by factors such as part-time contracts and care requirements. We urgently need to see more employers adopt flexible working practices and take a fairer approach to training and development to increase the opportunities for women to rightly move up the career ladder and help fill skills gaps and drive up productivity in doing so.”
Part-time workers – a contingent made up of more women than men – are less likely to receive workplace training than full-time employees (62% vs 72%) and are also less inclined to believe there are opportunities for progression (22% vs 36%).
Old gender divides still exist surrounding the types of job roles that men and women do. The research found that women were four times more likely to work as a carer than men, and three times more likely to work as a shop assistant. Whilst men were six times more likely to work as an engineer and three times more likely to be working as a software developer or computer programmer. This suggests that there is much more work needed to divert women towards the STEM sector and into better paid careers generally.
City & Guilds Group is calling on business leaders to address this imbalance and take active steps to demonstrate how women can rise through the ranks; starting by investing in critical skills development for part-time workers.
Timewise are flexible working specialists running a consultancy that helps employers design innovative solutions to attract and retain talented people and create fair workplaces.
Emma Stewart, MBE, CEO of Timewise commented: “Choosing to work flexibly or part- time should not mean choosing to compromise on career opportunities. From our earliest days supporting women at the school gates back into work, to our current prominence as experts in the flexible sphere, we’ve led and changed the conversation about flexible working. The vast majority of the workforce now want flexible working – both women and men. For employers to maximise on talent they need to both unlock more quality roles to flexible and part-time structures. And also, to invest in training and development for all their people, regardless of working pattern.”