Women in professional jobs have to wage a "sex war" against men, but are their own worst enemies, according to a poll published today.
Many of these women are less ambitious and confident than men and most prefer to work with male managers and colleagues, according to a survey of job applicants conducted by MORI.
Women were found to be "frustrated and disillusioned" in the fields of accountancy, banking, construction, surveying, law, insurance and information technology, according to Hays Personnel Services, a recruitment company, whose clients were surveyed.
Despite evidence that companies are now recruiting more female than male graduates, young women's hopes of fulfilment are thwarted in the longer run. The struggle to move up the ladder is crushing their enthusiasm for work, the study says.
Of those respondents who declared a preference, four times as many women would rather be outnumbered by men than by women at work. Only 4 per cent of both men and women would prefer a female boss and nearly a quarter of women would rather work for a man. Among female bankers, 35 per cent would prefer a male boss.
Only 37 per cent of female respondents expected to get to the top. A similar percentage wanted to be the head of a large company, compared with 62 per cent of men.
Men also tend to be more confident. More than 60 per cent rated themselves in the top one-third of their peer group, compared with 40 per cent of women. Nearly three- quarters of women with a view felt resented for "taking …