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Gender Gap Research: Opportunities in the workplace | Right Management | Randstad | CV-Library

According to Rebecca Wilson of recruitment-international.co.uk reporting on  a gender gap global research study released by Right Management, the global career expert arm of ManpowerGroup, affirms that leaders believe it will take an average of 17 years until women have the same opportunity to reach senior leadership roles as men.

speaker-02The survey of more than 200 male and female global leaders from companies with over half a million employees also found that that there were some stark differences between the way millennials think about the gender gap compared with their gen X and baby boomer counterparts.

While millennials believe they are the generation to make equality happen, they are also the most pessimistic about the number of years it will take to achieve it. Millennial females are most cynical, anticipating 22 years, in contrast to baby boomer males who believe it can be achieved eight years’ sooner, after just 14 years.

Ian Symes, general manager at Right Management UK & Ireland, commented, “Can we really afford to wait another generation until women have the same opportunities in the workplace as men? Millennials have the most potential to drive new behaviours around the treatment of women in the workplace but for them to feel inspired enough to act, they need to know a level playing field is within reach.  The number one thing employers can do to engage this demographic is to take a bolder, more proactive approach to creating and facilitating their career journeys.

“Young professionals think about careers in terms of ‘waves’ not ladders and want the flexibility to switch gears at different stages. To back them in their mission to change the way work gets done, employers need to start offering them the tools to take complete ownership of their career paths and show them that they’re serious about nurturing their ‘career for me’ mentality. The introduction of our RightEverywhere tool is a huge leap for us into the world of HR technology and we are confident that it will be an effective way for employees to take ownership of their careers and achieve greater success in senior positions. Especially in an age where mobile technology is growing more and more prevalent.

“We need to be building a culture that encourages regular conversations around personal and professional growth and assessable career development tools must play a major part in this.  By offering such tools, employers will increase engagement and ultimately productivity and performance.  Since 2008, the share of women in self-employment has increased by almost one-third. Women in the corporate world are worn down by this circular conversation about equality, it’s time to turn the talk into action or risk your best female talent leaving the business.”

Companies need to work harder to pay women equally or risk damaging their business, according to new research from Randstad

Female workers still lag behind their male counterparts when it comes to asking for a pay rise and climbing the corporate ladder, Randstad said. The research found that just a fifth of women had asked their boss for a raise in the last three years, compared to a third of men, and a quarter of men felt women had less chance of getting a pay rise than them.

Mark Bull, UK and Middle East managing director of Randstad, who commissioned the research, said, “This latest information has far-reaching implications for recruitment and reveals the challenges women still face in the workplace.

“Despite great leaps forward in equality and the gender pay gap being the narrowest it has ever been; women clearly still feel they are sometimes given the rough end of the deal compared to men. They are more reluctant to ask for a pay rise or promotion, fearing they might be penalised and they still feel men get more respect than them if they are promoted.

“Companies that don’t take notice of this and make it absolutely clear they offer equal pay and promotion will find themselves facing a reduced talent pool as women look for jobs elsewhere in firms that do offer such opportunities.”

Research from CV-Library has revealed that gender equality initiatives could result in poor hiring decisions and even lead to unfair treatment towards male workers.

The survey was conducted amongst over 2,000 UK employees to uncover workers’ attitudes towards the gender pay gap and gender equality initiatives.

The findings revealed:

  • 54.1% of UK workers think that equality policies lead to unqualified candidates getting jobs because hiring managers are more focused on diversity than qualifications
  • Almost half (48.3%) of professionals believe less focus should be placed on gender discrimination in the workplace
  • 38.8% of workers believe that constant hype around the gender pay gap is having a negative effect on men

In the survey, 76.4% of respondents believe gender inequality exists in the workplace and a further 72.3% agree there is a gender pay gap. CV-Library say that the data, however, suggests that the hype surrounding gender equality issues could actually be having a negative impact on the workplace.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, commented, “Gender quality is a real issue that needs to be taken seriously, but initiatives that promote equality simply cannot get in the way of business productivity. When UK employers are hiring new workers, it’s essential that the best candidate gets the job, regardless of gender. The data shows us that enforcing diversity quotas or equality initiatives can actually have a negative impact on the business and its workforce.”

While 33.5% of workers believe the root cause of the gender pay gap can be attributed to old gender stereotypes, respondents cited a variety of other possibilities, including: weak employment laws, men choosing higher-paying jobs, and men and women holding different types of jobs.

Only 28% of employers conduct analysis of men and women’s pay

New research findings show that a minority of organisations currently conduct any gender pay analysis, as well as the limited action being taken by employers to address the causes of gender inequality.

The survey of over 1,000 employers and HR professionals, which has informed the CIPD’s response to the consultation over the draft regulations, finds just 28% of employers overall and 34% at larger organisations (those with 250 or more employees) say their organisation conducts any analysis of the pay of men and women.

Among organisations that don’t currently analyse gender pay differentials, only 7% of large organisations plan to conduct any analysis of the pay of men and women in the next 12 months, with 47% saying they won’t and 46% responding that they don’t know if they will or not, reflecting the uncertainty amongst employers over the timelines for the implementation of the gender pay reporting regulations.

Dianah Worman, diversity adviser for CIPD, commented, “The survey findings demonstrate the need for employers to act expeditiously to be able to deliver what will be expected of them, or risk damaging their public reputations as progressive employers of female talent and undermine their competiveness in attracting and retaining it. Overall, the CIPD believes the government proposals on the regulations – which are based on extensive consultations – are on the right track. We welcome the additional focus on publishing information on the bonus gap and quartile salary bands which will give more detailed insights to employers on where and how pronounced gender pay differentials exist and what needs to be done to address them.

“However, we’re not convinced that the proposals to publish pay gap league tables across economic sectors will be helpful in levering systemic change. While at first sight they might appear to be a useful sanction, they could have the unintended consequence of compromising greater transparency and be subject to misinterpretation of commitment to change if not especially if they are not set in context.

“To stimulate employers to act willingly, it is vital to raise awareness about the reasons why addressing the gender pay gap makes good business sense and the good practice that can be adopted to put things right. This calls for a clear and well-evidenced communication strategy and simple, accessible guidance. This should cover how to prepare a narrative report explaining pay gap information and help employers to understand the basis of their gender pay gap and the kind of practical measures they can take to close it.”

The survey also shows that action taken by employers to promote equal opportunities for men and women within the last two years, or planned over the next 12 months, is limited and on an ad-hoc basis.

The most commonly cited ways in which organisations have tried to improve equal opportunities in the last two years are:

  • Improving the range of flexible working opportunities available to staff (26% all employers; 34% large employers)
  • Developing more inclusive recruitment practices (16% all employers; 21% large employers)
  • Through greater use of mentoring in the last two years to help women progress into the most senior levels in the business (13% all employers; 19% large employers)
  • Improving the childcare package they offer staff (10% all employers; 14% of large employers)Just 5% of employers (8% of large employers), however, say their organisation has developed closer links with schools or colleges as a means of improving the gender balance in certain occupations or sectors.

Looking ahead, well under half (44%) of employers say they have no specific plans in the next 12 months to improve opportunities for women with two-thirds of smaller employers and a third of larger employers saying this is the case.

Among those employers that are planning action to improve the gender balance, the most popular remedy is to improve flexible working opportunities (13% of large employers), the development of more inclusive recruitment practices (11% of large employers) and the introduction of mentoring to help women progress into more senior roles (13% of large employers).

Worman added, “Employers need to focus on reviewing people management and development policies and working practices to ensure they are inclusive and bias–free. Government has a key role to play in encouraging education providers and employers to help and inform young people and their parents about the diversity of career options available to them, changing misinformed perceptions and improving knowledge. The availability of good careers advice is imperative to help shape and inform the skills the UK needs to be economically competitive.”

Just a fifth of women have asked for pay rise in last three years

More than three quarters of women had not asked for a pay rise in the last three years, according to the new research from Randstad. The number one reason for not asking was fear of endangering their existing job. Others were concerned about their boss’s reaction and having to justify themselves.

The survey featured 2000 men and women working full-time across a wide range of sectors. It revealed the inequality of wages in the working population is still so ingrained that almost a quarter of men still feel the are more likely to get a pay rise.

On average, women had received two pay rises in the last five years, whilst men had received three.

Mark Bull, UK and Middle East managing director of Randstad, added, “This entrenched culture needs to change or businesses will suffer – a poor reputation for employee pay and working conditions can be extremely damaging to a business’s corporate image, effectively discouraging the brightest candidates from even applying.

“Being equal does not mean being the same necessarily, but rather it is about companies acknowledging the talents of women equally with those of men. Women have a huge amount to offer companies and bring with them diversity and a fresh way of thinking which can only enhance a business’s performance.”

Randstad say that new legislation to force businesses to publish what bonuses they are paying staff and the average pay difference between men and women employees should help to redress the balance somewhat, but there is still a perception not enough is being done to get women into “top jobs” and 36% said a “glass ceiling” still exists.

More than a third of those asked felt employer attitudes were to blame for the lack of encouragement but Bull also felt women needed to be more confident as well.

He commented, “By building confidence in their female staff and empowering them to make decisions and progress, businesses will not only see increased productivity but will find they have a loyal and skilled workforce with higher staff retention rate.”

The research did reveal the march towards pay parity and gender equality is moving forward with 44% of workers confident the pay gap will eventually disappear.

Not everyone had to fight for a pay rise either with 57% of respondents being given one without even asking, an indication that businesses in some sectors are proactively encouraging both men and women.

A spokesman for Randstad said, “Across all industries we are seeing recruiters doing more and more to actively encourage and promote women. These latest results reveal, that although there is still work to be done, especially in higher level jobs, equality in the future is a realistic prospect.”

Female ambition in the workplace: Only 11% of UK women aspire to reach top roles in their company

European countries are lagging behind developing nations when it comes to female ambition in the workplace, with the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands falling furthest behind, according to a survey from Hays.

The survey of over 11,500 people globally found that only 11% of women in the UK believe they need to reach the most senior levels, MD or CEO, in order to feel successful in their careers, compared to 14% of men. This compares to 28% in Malaysia, 22% in Colombia and 18% in the UAE.

In contrast, British women are much more satisfied in reaching mid/ senior-level roles. Almost four in 10 women in the UK (36%) say they would need to reach director level to feel successful, compared to 33% of men.

image100According to Hays, women in senior management tend to be concentrated in support functions rather than leadership roles at the core of the organisation. Recent research has shown that globally only 9% of women are chief executive officer (CEO) or chief operating officers (COO). Chief financial officer (CFO) roles are slightly higher with 18% of these roles held by women, according to data from Grant Thornton.

Yvonne Smyth, group head of diversity at Hays, said, “It is concerning that only one in ten women in the UK aspire to reach the most senior roles within their company, despite their ambitions to reach manager and director roles.

“It has been proven that more diverse organisations not only outperform those which are less diverse, but are also most likely to attract and retain the most talented professionals. Companies would stand to gain a competitive advantage if they encourage development from a wide talent pool, at a time when many industries are suffering with skill shortages.”

Hays says that there needs to be better support from all sides around gender diversity in order to encourage women to reach the top. There is currently an imbalance between men and women in their views about pay and recognition for female workers. Just 14% of UK men compared to 44% of UK women believe that equally capable male and female colleagues are not paid or rewarded in an equal manner.

Companies also need to be more transparent about what is being done to support the advancement of women in the workplace, including formal gender diversity policies. The majority of respondents said their organisation either didn’t have a diversity policy (28%) or they weren’t sure if one existed (32%).

Smyth added,Businesses need to ensure they are focusing on internal initiatives and policies in place to retain and promote their top female talent. By being aware of the different factors that motivate men and women and making career plans visible and accessible to all, employers can encourage and enable women to move into more senior positions.”

Currently, women constitute only 25 of the 267 executive directors in the FTSE 100 (9%), while in the FTSE 250, women are even less well represented, making up just 5% of executives.


About Dr. Ev D'aMigo; PhD

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