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Research conducted by professional training company Roar Training has uncovered the current state of inequality in the workplace. Evidence-based practical steps from the company aim to combat inequality and help both men and women become better allies.
The study of 600 employees from across the globe revealed that 54% of women believe that their gender has negatively affected their career progression.
In fact, 47% of men don’t believe that women are treated equally in the workplace, and 31% have experienced a co-worker being treated unfairly because of her gender.
The research collated by Roar Training’s founder Kirsty Hulse and Marketing Analyst Sarah Gurbs aims to highlight the issues women face at work and provide evidence-based practical steps for men and women to identify what it means, and how to be a positive ally.
How do women currently perceive inequality in the workplace?
- 54% of women believe that their gender has negatively affected their career progression.
- 51% of women report a general sense of wanting to “be believed” when they discuss or report inequality.
- 27% of female respondents have been actively supported by a male coworker when being treated unfairly in the workplace. However, 56% were not actively supported and 17% unsure.
- 92% of women want an open dialogue, where issues can be addressed together, discussed on a case by case basis.
How do men currently perceive inequality in the workplace?
- 31% have experienced a co-worker being treated unfairly because of her gender.
- 64% of male respondents said that female co-workers are offered the same opportunities as them and 10% believe their female co-workers are offered more.
- A large majority (91%) respond that gender equality is either important, or extremely important to them. However only 71%, actively support gender equality in the workplace.
Commenting on the findings Kirsty Hulse, Founder of Roar Training said
The route to both achieving gender parity in the workplace, and ensuring those within businesses feel their is a commitment to this is undoubtedly nuanced, complex and subjective. This research suggests there is an agreed starting point when addressing the issue of gender equality in the workplace.
There is seemingly no “rule” as to whether sexist behaviour ought to be openly called out, or the role of male allies is to facilitate positive change in the background. This is entirely subjective to the individual, and seemingly differs depending on which stage of their careers they are in. Based on this, the most effective male allies are those whom discuss openly their biases, actively listen to their female coworkers and ask how their female colleagues would best like to address these issues.
- Listen and believe what is being reported. Many women reported that their male co-workers do not “believe” how they feel, which is supported by a disparity between female reporting how they feel in the workplace, and male perceptions.
- Be awareness of bias that may be informing actions and decisions is cited as important for both men and women to begin working towards true gender parity.
- Create an open dialogue so that issues can be addressed according to a specific individuals needs.
UK workplace culture stalls women’s careers say three in four women and two in five men reports year-long study involving almost 6,000 UK employees.
Everyday examples of unintentionally gender biased behaviour in workplace culture are stalling women’s careers, according to a year-long study released on 13 February 2019 by Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge.
Involving 5,814 UK employees, this research sheds new light on the implications of the way people tend to think about the strengths, attributes and potential of men and women. This is not a simple issue. Few people are intentionally sexist. The research found that gender double standards are perpetuated by both men and women.
Almost three in four (74%) female employees believe their workplace culture makes it more challenging for women to advance their careers than men. 42% of men agree. While many studies have focused on women’s perceptions alone, this research also reveals men’s views and the gulf between the two, identifying where focus is needed to ensure equality of opportunity.
These findings are released as part of Murray Edwards College’s Collaborating with Men programme. Delivered through research and workshops with large UK employers, the initiative enables employees across the genders to work together to solve cultural issues in their own workplace. It was launched after a 2014 survey of the all-female College’s alumnae reported workplace culture issues to be a greater barrier to career advancement than challenges relating to balancing work and family life.
Perhaps surprisingly more senior women report greater challenges to career progress. Half of senior female employees say their own workplace culture ‘often’ or ‘always’ presents career advancement challenges for women, compared with 36% of junior female employees. This has implications for career development and promotions.
The research found that the culture of UK workplaces is especially failing women of colour. Over half (56%) of women from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic or mixed race background say their workplace culture ‘often’ or ‘always’ presents career advancement challenges for women. This compares to 48% of white females.
Dr Jill Armstrong, lead researcher and Murray Edwards College Bye-Fellow comments:
Women are well equipped to excel in leadership positions, but they’re not rising from middle management in the same proportions as men. Those involved in the study have been surprised by the gender gulf in perceptions about the effect of unintentionally gender biased thinking. It’s workplace culture that has to change if we are to create equality of opportunity. That has to be done in partnership with men.
The latest study explores seven key ways in which gender stereotypes and unintentionally exclusive behaviour can damage women’s career progression opportunities:
- Women being judged more negatively when they behave in the same way as men
- Men and women being evaluated differently due to stereotypes around strengths
- Informal (social) networks that are important for decision making being male-dominated
- Men having more access to sponsorship from senior leaders
- Women not always being credited for their contribution to meetings
- “Benevolent sexism”, which is well intentioned but still hinders promotion prospects
- Women being interrupted in meetings
Double standards at root of women’s career progression challenges
Women being judged more negatively for behaviours that male colleagues also exhibit is one of the key examples of gender bias for organisations to address, according to the research.
43% of female employees say they have directly experienced being judged more negatively than men for the same behaviour in the last 12 months.
Dr Jill Armstrong comments:
Both male and female employees acknowledge that in many workplaces men get away with behaving in ways that are not considered acceptable for women. Female anger is still particularly unpalatable – we saw that with the uproar about Serena Williams at the US Open. What is perceived as decisive and strong from men, can be caricatured as bossy or aggressive from a woman.”
More than half (53%) of women have seen these double standards affect other female colleagues in the last 12 months. Yet only 18% of men have noticed this happening to female colleagues over the same year, suggesting that while many men are aware women face greater career progression challenges, they rarely notice the ways in which this manifests.
Crucially, the researchers found these double standards are perpetuated by female as well as male bosses. Well over half of the employees surveyed (55% of men and 59% of women) report personally being treated differently because of their gender by a female boss.
Stereotypes lead to women losing out on challenging opportunities
According to the participants’ rankings, one of the other most important issues for UK employers to address is stereotypical views on men’s and women’s strengths. This is likely to lead to biased decisions when filling leadership positions.
Previous academic research has established that traits commonly valued in potential leaders such as ambition, a single-minded commitment to work and risk-taking are frequently associated with men. Today’s study found these assumptions are perceived to affect women’s promotion into leadership positions.
According to two-thirds (64%) of female employees, stereotypical views about female traits, such as building good relationships, attention to detail and strong admin skills leads to them being perceived in their workplaces as good managers rather than good potential leaders. Only 29% of men believe this happens.
Kirsty Peacock, HR Director, Dentons UK & Middle East LLP, who has enrolled teams onto Collaborating with Men workshops comments:
I’ve tried many gender equality initiatives and this is the first one that’s started the conversation in a constructive way. Staff fill in a survey beforehand and the workshop begins by sharing the results. Being confronted by your own colleagues’ experiences is really powerful and the anonymity reduces the emotion that often comes with this subject.
It’s moved the conversations we’re having away from blame and defensiveness towards a positive dialogue, with everyone creating the solutions together. We already have great gender equality policies and processes, but this is enabling us to think about our culture on a deeper level.
Jason Ghaboos, researcher and Murray Edwards College Bye-Fellow comments:
Men can sometimes wonder whether it is their place to give a voice to these issues, and I have heard from male allies that their motives for being involved in gender issues are questioned; by both men and women. It needs to become more normal for men and women to talk about this.
Gender inclusivity is not a ‘women’s issue’. To class it as such is unhelpful and masks the complexity of the issues, and the nuance required of interventions. Often solutions in the past have focussed on what women need to do to improve the situation. In truth, meaningful change can only occur when women and men work together to improve the workplace culture for all.
This year’s Women in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure 2020 Review shows improvement on gender diversity over the past year.
New analysis of gender diversity in the hospitality, travel and leisure sector shows the industry has made positive progress in the past year to address the number of women in senior positions. While improvements have been made, there is still work to be done to meet the 33% target of female representation across boards and executive committees by 2020, set by the Hampton-Alexander review.
The report shows the percentage of women in board level positions at FTSE 100 hospitality, travel and leisure companies increased to 32%, up 3% from 29%, slightly better than the cross sector average of 30%. There has also been improvement on the number of women holding executive committee and direct report positions (into the Executive Committee) in companies.
The sector review, led by Tea Colaianni, Chair of WiH2020, an independent cross-industry body supported by firms including PwC and The MBS Group, assessed the progress companies have made since gender pay reporting became mandatory for companies with over 250 employees in 2017. A total of 120 companies were interviewed and their data analysed as part of the review.
Tea Colaianni, Chair of WIH2020, said:
The FTSE 100 is one of the strongest performing groups of the hospitality, travel and leisure sector for gender diversity and the improvements they have made mean they are just shy of meeting the 33% target for women on boards.
However, there is a widening gap between those who are performing well and those who are not. Currently, only a quarter of companies are at target for both board and executive committee/direct report measures.
Progress in percentage of women in board level positions
FTSE 250 companies also saw an increase in the percentage of women in board level positions (22% vs 20% last year). Overall this percentage remains below the cross-sector average of 25%. However, for Executive Committee and direct reports, the FTSE 250 is outperforming the sector average of 25%, with a figure of 27.8% – marginally down in comparison to last year.
There has been encouraging progress in the number of women non-executive directors (NEDs) with the rate at which women are appointed to NED roles over the past 12 months reaching 62%. Across the FTSE 350, 40% of NEDs are women. The number of women who are direct reports across the whole sector has reached 36%.
Elliott Goldstein, MBS, said:
This year, for the first time, there are now no all-male FTSE 350 hospitality, travel and leisure boards, which is a good step in the right direction. But this is not the time to get complacent. The vast majority of companies are below the cross-sector target for gender diversity on at least one key measure showing there is still work to do. Meanwhile, our research shows that just 1 in 33 leaders in the sector are from a BAME background, well below the cross-sector average so it is clear our sectors have much more to do to ensure true diversity.”
Improvements needed in BAME representation
The research shows areas that need focus to drive further improvement should include addressing the lack of women in key leadership positions, with just 7% currently holding the title of CEO across the sector in the FTSE 350. In addition, the number of people from a black and ethnic minority background is vastly underrepresented in the sector, with just one in 33 leaders (combined board, executive committee and direct report) in the industry identifying as BAME. With the UK Government launching a consultation on mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting in October 2018, this is clearly an area that will be increasingly be in the spotlight for businesses in the coming months and years.
Jon Terry, Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Leader at PwC said:
Overall there has been encouraging progress across the sector, but there is still much work to do to increase the number of senior women and people from other diverse backgrounds. A focus on ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to progress and for firms across the sector to better reflect their customers, brings benefits to business as well as to society.
Tea Colaianni concluded:
The statistics in the review show some encouraging progress, although more work needs to be done by many companies to achieve sustainable change. The report also sheds light on a number of never seen before collaboration initiatives across the sector such as Comeback to HTL, the ground-breaking first ever cross industry returners programme.
The number of talented women not returning to the sector after a career break is remarkably high. Comeback to HTL aims to welcome returners back to the industry, provide the appropriate level of support and flexibility and help them fast track their career to senior levels. The hospitality, travel and leisure industry, the third largest private employer in the UK, should and can lead the way in this area.
The UK’s working parents are penalised for working part-time and suffer from poorly-designed jobs that force them to work extra hours, according to a major new study published today by Working Families and Bright Horizons.
Part-time penalty leaves mothers behind
The 2019 Modern Families Index reveals that parents working part time – most of whom are women – have just a 21% chance of being promoted within the next three years, compared to 45% for their full-time counterparts.
The disparity in promotion rates between part-timers and full-timers has a major impact on career progression for mothers: the Index shows that the average mother waits two years longer for a promotion than the average father. This is the consequence of more mothers than fathers being in part-time work and threatens to frustrate recent efforts by government and many corporations to close the gender pay gap.
Poor job design and culture of presenteeism force parents to work extra hours
The Index also found that many parents grapple with unmanageable workloads owing, in part, to a workplace culture of presenteeism. 78% of parents are working beyond their contracted hours. Of those who put in extra work, 60% report that doing so is necessary to deal with their workload and over half (52%) said that working extra hours is part of their organisation’s culture.
There is also an unmet demand for flexible working among parents: 86% of parents want to work flexibly but only 49% of those surveyed do. For more than a third (37%) of parents, flexible working isn’t available in their workplaces, despite all employees having the statutory right to request flexible working arrangements.
Work takes heavy toll on family life
Unsurprisingly, working parents feel overwhelmed by the increasing demands of the modern workplace. Nearly half of parents (47%) said that work restricts their ability to spend time reading or playing with their children. 48% said it affects their relationship with their partner and more than a quarter (28%) said it led to arguments with their children.
This is exacerbated by the constant intrusion from technology on family time: 47% of respondents felt that the boundaries between work and home had become too blurred by technology.
Wellbeing of parents under threat from long hours culture
The figures also raise concerns about the physical wellbeing of parents in the UK. 47% said that work had noticeable negative impacts on the amount of sleep they could get; 47% said the long hours restricted the amount of exercise they were able to take; 43% said work had a detrimental effect on their diet.
Employers and government must take responsibility
Parents overwhelmingly agree that it is up to employers and the government to ease these workplace pressures: 90% of parents said that employers have a role to play and 92% said that the government has a responsibility to address these issues.
Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive of Working Families, said:
Parents who work part-time and flexibly add immense value to an organisation. We have found that among Working Families member companies—which generally have excellent policies and practice around flexible working—part-time and flexible workers perform significantly higher than the average employee. However, this year’s Index shows the sad reality that very often, part-timers aren’t able to progress at work because a higher value is placed on full time work—and there is simply more of it. Compounding this problem is the fact that parents are often saddled with jobs that require them to work well beyond their contracted hours.”
James Tugendhat, Managing Director, International at Bright Horizons, said:
The Index shows that parents trying to juggle work and family commitments are getting a raw deal. The UK’s part-time stigma and long-hours culture renders them exhausted, stressed and unable to climb the career ladder. This applies especially to mothers.
“Encouraging pledges on flexible working have been made but the approach to date, however well intentioned, hasn’t lightened the load for working parents. Addressing this would have the potential to narrow the gender wage gap significantly. Companies’ fortunes are based on their ability to attract and retain the best and brightest employees. It’s time we wave goodbye to an office based 9-5 culture and embrace a more human-sized, agile approach.
The Tech Talent Charter (TTC) recently launched its inaugural benchmarking Report – the first report of its kind tracking gender diversity in technology roles across the UK.
Gathered from over 200 signatories representing over half a million employees, the data gives a snapshot of today’s tech industry and an insight into practical ways companies can improve it:
● Across signatories women hold 26% of technical roles compared with 19% UK wide – micro businesses are found to be the most gender diverse with women holding 53% of technical roles
● 71% of signatories already have active diversity and inclusion policies as part of their recruitment approach. 27% don’t, but are putting them in place in the next year.
● 36% of signatories already have policies in place to increase the number of women included in interview shortlists, with 32% saying they will be adding this in 2019
● 57% of signatories outsource some or all of their technical roles
The current state of play
Across the signatories, women hold 26% of the technical roles. Looking at the workforce of signatories more broadly, women make up 34.9% of the signatories’ workforces compared to the wider digital tech workforce average of 19%.
When broken down into job roles, it is clear that there remains specific technology specialisms where women are less represented. User-centered design had the highest proportion of women (48%) and Engineer and Programmer had the lowest proportion (15%). There were no surprises here, as it is well known that the engineering sector specifically struggles to attract and retain women.
Industrywide – % of positions held by women
- User-centered design – 48%
- Production and delivery roles – 33%
- Data roles – 31%
- QAT analyst roles – 26%
- IT operations roles – 25%
- Engineer/Programmer roles – 15%
Does size matter in gender diversity?
The data collected shows clear differences between the size of an organisation and its gender representation in technology roles. However, there is no clear trend between size and gender representation. Surprisingly, micro-companies had the highest representation with 53% of all technical roles held by women, in comparison with small companies at 20%, medium at 23% and large at 19%.
Debbie Forster, CEO Tech Talent Charter comments
We are delighted to see our smaller companies challenging assumptions that they are too small or too busy to focus on diversity. This report clearly shows every size and type of company can and must become more inclusive and diverse.
The key is learning from each other. At our events across the country our smaller companies are helping larger companies find ways of ‘thinking like a start-up’, to pilot smaller scale-approaches and then scaling them, rather than waiting to create the perfect solution and then trickle it down.”
Phasing out all-male job interview shortlists
Data were also collated on the efforts made by signatories to rollout gender inclusion and diversity policies.
The overwhelming majority of the Charter’s signatories have an active policy in place already (70.71%) or plan to roll out such policies in the coming year (27.27%). Over a third (36%) of signatories also already have policies in place to increase the number of women in included in interview shortlists, with 32% saying they will be adding this in 2019. The remaining 2% of signatories – those without policies in place or planned – gave a variety of reasons why this was the case, primarily that diversity and inclusion underpins their approach to recruitment already and they see no need for a formal policy.
Debbie Forster, CEO Tech Talent Charter continues
We believe that, first and foremost, any policy that is implemented should align with a company’s unique culture. If a policy cannot fully capture company culture, businesses should focus on identifying the metrics and measurements that will set them up for sustainable progress. Our members know that if you genuinely build an inclusive culture, diversity will follow. Policies can and should underpin culture but the culture is the essential component.
Focus for 2019
The report also reveals over half (57%) of signatories outsource all or some of their technology roles to a third party, highlighting that companies need to look beyond their own walls to ensure gender parity.
As the Charter develops and expands, The Tech Talent Charter will work more closely with the outsourcing companies. There is a responsibility for employers who are calling for meaningful diversity in their own teams to also be aware of the diversity within their supply chain, and ask more of their outsourcing partners.
Debbie Forster, CEO Tech Talent Charter added,
We’re delighted to publish our TTC toolkit. For the first time, we’re bringing together sector-wide data that is not just a restating of the problem – it allows companies to measure their own practice against others and to learn from each other to create solutions. We’re also painstakingly documenting existing best practice from across the sector and the huge range of organisations, initiatives and schemes businesses can work with to drive inclusion and diversity themselves.
All the work the Tech Talent Charter has done with its UK wide members to pinpoint the policies and practices that can really move the dial on gender diversity in tech are available for any business to read and learn from in The Open Playbook for Best Practice.
The Open Playbook for Best Practice is an open source document with tips and insights from businesses and recruiters sharing what has worked well in their diversity journey. It covers four key topics: Returners & Retraining; Retention & Growth; Recruitment and Culture and contains a section on other resources that are available for members to use. This resource will continue to grow as we hold more regional events throughout 2019 and insert our members’ learnings.
The Tech Talent Charter has also compiled a searchable and sortable Diversity Directory containing over 300 programmes that employers can draw on to support them in driving inclusion and diversity in their companies.
Gill Wylie, Enterprise Transformation Director, Lloyds Banking Group, commented,
Being able to attract, develop, fully utilise and retain top female talent is highly important to us, and we have set a target for 40% of our senior roles to be held by women by 2020. We are proud to work with the Tech Talent Charter to promote roles of women in technology, throughout the length and breadth of the UK. This is just one of the ways we are helping Britain prosper.