'Women share work ambitions with men, but men fail to see barriers to female career progression'

Women are just as confident at work as men and share many of the same ambitions, but organisations need to tackle bullying and harassment and move to a more agile style of working if they want to create a more diverse culture, according to a large-scale study of women aged 28 to 40.

Women are just as confident at work as men and share many of the same ambitions, but organisations need to tackle bullying and harassment and move to a more agile style of working if they want to create a more diverse culture, according to a large-scale study of women aged 28 to 40.

The 28-40 Project, by Opportunity Now, surveyed 25,000 men and women, making it the UK’s largest ever survey of women and work. It found that women have similar confidence levels and top three ambitions as men. Some 70% of men and women want to be a leader at work and 77% of women are confident in ability to lead a team.

Men and women both listed ‘Achieving a work life/harmony, ‘Being involved in work that is meaningful or makes a difference’ and ‘Being able to provide for my family’ in their top three priorities at work.

Men and women also shared similar priorities outside work, both ranking ‘Working in a job that I enjoy’ and ‘Having free time to enjoy life outside work’ as the most important things in life’

Many women want better basics to support their progression at work, said the report. Top of the list were fair and transparent promotion and appraisal policies and improved professional development programmes – 44% of women said that these would be most likely to improve their career development opportunities. Women also want clear definition of roles to help them understand expectations at the next level, more support from and for their line managers in managing diverse teams and making performance reviews more effective, and better agile working arrangements.

Opportunity Now called the report "reality check for UK employers". It said: "There is a gap between organisational policies and the actual experiences of 28-40 women at work, including real challenges on bullying and harassment."  It said women want excellent line management and basics at work which was far more important than creating more female-only programmes. 

The report said it was important for employers to recognise several phases and different evolution of women’s careers and ambition, and to recognise that women of different backgrounds and identities may face particular challenges. Flexible working was essential to women in balancing their commitments, yet the stigma attached was seen as being an obstacle to progression.  The report also spoke about the opportunities for employers of taking on women returners. It said: "Many mothers feel their employer is not doing enough to back them up in balancing their responsibilities at work and home – they want to work hard, but to be measured for outputs, not hours worked. Before they have children women are nervous about the impact of parenthood on their career. Role models and honest conversations with managers can help." 

The report also called for senior women and men to speak about what they enjoy about their jobs, and how they make it work in order to mae career progression to senior roles seem more appealing. And it said there was a perceptions gap between men and women in the workplace, with women seeing unfairness in pay and in access to career progression opportunities and feeling that their organisational culture was male-dominated. The report says: "Men do not recognise these barriers. When men, who hold the majority of senior leadership positions, can start to see the challenges women face, we will make progress. 

It recommended CEOs take a lead on women's progression and move it from a diversity initiative to a core business priority, setting targets for women at each level of their organisation. It said organisations should prioritise the development of excellent managers at every level, act on bullying and create truly agile organisations. The report also called on women to better plan their career trajectories, choose mentors and develop their networks.




Comments [1]

  • Anonymous says:

    Everyone is equally the same, and being a career woman or a mother is a truly amazing obligation. We know how hard working and patient they do their job. Bullying them is a big NO, no matter what their personal preferences, we should respect each other and let them have what they deserve in life. See videos for reference here http://www.safety-tv.com.


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