Boardroom Glass Ceiling Only One of the Barriers to Women; RESEARCH IDENTIFIES FOUR KEY BLOCKS TO WOMEN'S PROGRESS

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THE concept of a single glass ceiling is an outdated model and no longer reflects the realities of modern working life for women, according to research Ernst & Young.

The survey of 1,000 UK working women between the ages of 18 to 60, revealed that two thirds believe they faced multiple barriers throughout their careers, rather than just a single ceiling on entry to the boardroom.

The research identified four key barriers to career progression for today's working women in: lack of role models; motherhood; qualifications and experience.

The professional services firm says that the barriers aren't chronological and can be experienced at anytime; often several at once. And while they aren't exclusive to women, it believes it is clear from the research that employers need to provide better support to help women overcome them.

Liz Bingham, Ernst & Young's managing partner for people, said: "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. As a result, British business is losing its best and brightest female talent from the pipeline before they have even had a chance to smash the glass ceiling.

"We recognise that in our own business, and in others, and professional women clearly experience it - that's what they have told us."

Ernst & Young's head of advisory, Harry Gaskell, said that organisations need to ensure they are supporting women at every stage of their career life cycle, not just as they are about to enter the boardroom.

The survey identified age - perceived as either too young or too old - as being the biggest obstacle that women face during their careers. …