‘Nearly three quarters of women have experienced gender discrimination’

A new report by Randstad looks at the factors affecting women’s career progression and finds widespread experience of discrimination.

Men and women split up


Nearly three quarter [72%] of women 72% have either encountered inappropriate behaviour from male colleagues or have witnessed comments or inappropriate behaviour, according to a report by HR consultancy firm Randstad.

As part of its 2022 Gender equality in the workplace report, Ranstad surveyed 6,000 workers across the construction, education, healthcare and technology sectors in May to gain detailed insight into the status quo of UK workplaces, and to assess the persistence of gender discrimination.

Ranstad says just 18% of women across all industries reported never having experienced gender discrimination.  Some 7% of women across all industries reported having been passed over for promotion due to perceived gender discrimination, while just under one in 10 say they have been offered a less important role because of their gender.

When questioned about the factors that would have the greatest impact upon their careers, 60% of women cited work-life balance as having a significant impact, compared to a significantly smaller 48% of men.  A lack of mentorship was cited as a negative career impact by 55% of women, followed by the absence of female role models (41%), and the possibility of sexual harassment within the workplace (32%).

Around one in five of women stated that flexible working hours would encourage more women to join their industry. Around a third were looking to change jobs in the next three months and15% said that a lack of flexible working was a cause of women leaving their industry.

Around three-quarters (73%) of the women surveyed stated that employers in their industry were not doing enough to support female employees during the menopause while the majority of women respondents did not believe that after having a baby, they could return to work in a senior role on a part time basis.

The report comments in detail on four sectors: construction, education, healthcare and technology. It says 89% of women in construction have experienced perceived gender discrimination. Meanwhile, in education which is more female-dominated, 80% say their employer doesn’t do enough to support women during the menopause.  A lack of flexible working is also seen as a challenge in the sector. Asked why women might leave their profession, reasons given include lack of childcare provision [cited by 17%]. This was just two percentage points under stress while16% cited a lack of flexible  working.

In healthcare,  the lack of work life balance was a huge issue, with 60% citing it as the biggest stressor in their working lives. Female healthcare workers cite stress (17%), a lack of flexible working options (16%) and the long working hours culture (12%) as among the main reasons women might leave the profession. To persuade more women to join or remain within healthcare, 19% thought flexible hours would help, while 15% said improved childcare options were needed.

In technology, while there has been some improvement in recent years, 72% of women – a lot higher than in the other three sectors  said that a lack of female role models was having an impact on their careers, while 77% would like to see more mentors in the workplace.

Randstad’s recommendations on gender equality for employers include diversifying interview panels, adopting blind applications, embedding diversity and inclusion policies, promoting positive role models and providing childcare support and job coaches.

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