What’s Holding Women Back in Business?

Leadership, News

5 Key Equality Facts

  • For every £1 the average man earns per hour, the average woman earns 82p (Government Equalities Office)
  • Across the UK 37.9% of management roles, be it managers, directors or senior officials, are occupied by women (Government Equalities Office)
  • Improving gender parity by 2025 would improve the UK’s GDP by £150 billion per year (Mckinsey Global Institute) – this is slightly more than the Government spent on healthcare in 2018 (ukpublicspending.co.uk)
  • Companies with 3 or more women on their boards are more productive per employee (MSCI)
  • In a survey by Statista 68% of women and 55% of men said that gender equality was important to them personally

We all know different bits of the research – men continue to hold more board and senior management positions than women.In the UK 75% of businesses have at least one woman on their senior leadership team, with women making up 22% of all senior management positions.

Whilst these figures are improving, and there have been some high-profile tribunal wins for women such as the BBC’s Samira Ahmed, progress for the average female worker is slow and it is widely acknowledged that it will take more than ‘diversity policies’ to boost the growth.

But is that the only reason that’s stopping women progressing?

With an abundance of information on the topic there’s a variety of opinions about other factors that affect women reaching the top. At Dale Carnegie we work with men and women at all levels in their organisation, who are trying to improve their skills to develop themselves and their career. A common theme throughout is having a resilient mind-set and positive self image, and this can often be where some of the problems arise.

Having often taken a period off work for maternity, women can find it difficult to get back to work at the same level they left at, not only because of lack of opportunities but also a lack of confidence. Less than one fifth of management level women or above feel happy or confident about returning to work after having a baby, with more than 37% finding it so difficult that they considered handing their notice in (MMB Magazine Survey).

Whilst many women see flexible working as a solution, they believe it has a negative impact on their career, and often not an option at their grade. A survey by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, revealed that 25% of women think that their manager views flexible working as a negative and that they felt they needed to work extra hours to show their commitment.

But the bottom-line benefits for employers cannot be ignored. In 2016 Vodafone commissioned a global survey on flexible working and the results were astounding. Of the 75% of companies that had introduced the system:

  • 83% saw an increase in productivity
  • 61% saw company profits increase
  • 58% said the policy had improved their reputation

Alina Maraghelis, Business Coach and a specialist in female talent said,” Confidence can often be an issue for women especially when asking for a change in hours or a pay increase. They feel a need to apologise for the request rather than selling the benefits of themselves and the change to their employer. Preparation is the key, go in with all the facts and see the value you bring to the organisation. We work with women at all levels in business to help them change their mind-set, making them more confident and resilient. The UK talent shortage is something that is going to affect all businesses and in some ways the solution is simple – recognise, develop and encourage your female talent and watch them as your business flourishes.

Free Resource – Achieving Inclusion Through Cultural Awareness

For more ways to improve confidence find out about The Dale Carnegie Course and Increasing Diversity: Women in Business.