A survey by the accounting firm, Ernst & Young , has found that age – either being too old or too young – is the chief concern of women in the workplace.
The survey, conducted in the United Kingdom, involved 1,000 women between the ages of 18 and 60 (which does not even account for the oldest category of women in the workplace who are most likely to be concerned about age discrimination!).
The survey found four key barriers facing women in the workplace:
- Age was identified as the biggest obstacle that women face during their careers. Thirty two per cent of the women surveyed said age had impacted on their career progression, with an additional 27 % saying that they thought it would inhibit their progression in the future.
- Lack of experience or qualifications was the second highest factor that had inhibited women’s careers to date (according to 22 % of respondents), and the third highest factor cited as a future inhibitor (19 %).
- Nearly one in five (19 %) of those surveyed said becoming a mother had impacted their career and 25% said they thought it was the second biggest inhibitor to their future careers, after age.
- Three out of four (75%) said they have few or no female role models within their organizations. Eight percent said a lack of role models had had a detrimental impact on their career to date.
“The focus around gender diversity has increasingly been on representation in the boardroom and this is still very important. But the notion that there is a single glass-ceiling for women, as a working concept for today’s modern career, is dead. Professional working women have told us they face multiple barriers on their rise to the top,” says Liz Bingham, Managing Partner for People at Ernst & Young.
When respondents were asked to identify what three things their company could do to remove these barriers, or better support women’s career progression, they said companies should provide:
- More support after returning to work from having children (32 %);
- More support at every stage of her career lifecycle (24%)
- More visible female role models (19%)
And when asked what government could do, the survey respondents said:
- Making companies reveal the ‘pay gap’ between men and women. (45%);
- Affordable child-care/ tax relief for childcare. (43%);
- Flexible work policies. (28%).