Nearly one in three UK bosses admit they have or would reject a female job applicant because they suspect she ‘might start a family soon’, according to a new study.
Although this form of employment discrimination is unlawful, 15% anonymously admitted that they had broken sex discrimination laws.
The survey of 501 bosses, carried out by law firm Slater and Gordon, also revealed that one in four bosses has rejected or would reject a woman, simply because she was a single parent.
A further 29% said they have discounted or would discount a woman for a job role because she had young children and 28% said they have or would because she was recently engaged or married.
Some 37% of bosses admitted they would advertise positions for men only if the law allowed, with 40 % saying they perceived men as being more committed to their jobs. And 36% said they think ‘women are more of a future investment risk’ than men.
More than a third of senior decision makers said they would rather hire a man to get around the issue of offering maternity leave. And 14 % of all the bosses surveyed admitted they do nothing to support mothers when coming back to work after being on maternity leave.
“A huge shift in attitudes still needs to take place before women feel they are not penalised for wanting both a career and children. Men are never asked to choose between the two. This discrimination also affects women generally, those who don’t plan to have children or already have children as it is about attitudes and stereotypes applied to women generally,” said Remziye Ozcan, an employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon