Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Figures Helping Women to Succeed; Pick Your Career Wisely as Your Gender Can Hinder Progress, According to a Study of the Best Places for Women to Work. Those with a Head for Figures Do Best, with Accounting the Best Sector for Female Employees. by Niki Chesworth

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Figures Helping Women to Succeed; Pick Your Career Wisely as Your Gender Can Hinder Progress, According to a Study of the Best Places for Women to Work. Those with a Head for Figures Do Best, with Accounting the Best Sector for Female Employees. by Niki Chesworth

Article excerpt

Byline: Niki Chesworth

IF you are a working mother, then work in education. If you want to progress as a female, opt for the law or accountancy. However, if you are ambitious, forget engineering or government, and if you want to avoid prejudice stay away from financial services, advertising and the media.

These are the findings of The Career Paradox for UK Women, an in-depth study across industry sectors exploring carer support, the working environment and the talent pipeline. The paradox is that while the large proportion, 80 per cent of the 1,000 professional women polled, believe that they are supported in their career, many also feel they are being held back.

On average, 44 per cent say their gender has hindered their career (or will in the future), while 36 per cent have experienced workplace prejudice. In addition, 12 per cent say they have actually been passed over for promotion because of their gender. However, this varies from sector to sector.

"What is clear is that, while many women may feel like they are being supported, there is a disconnect between this and the realities of their day-to-day working life," says Chris Martin of Talking Talent, which produced the report. "This paradox undermines much of the good work that many organisations are undertaking."

He says that the biggest blockage in the talent pipeline is team managers.

"The biggest single challenge to female advancement is an inconsistency of approach," adds Martin. "This is particularly a problem for working mothers. The company may have a particular mission statement or ethos, but it is not being implemented.

"We work with organisations, coaching their female employees, because while senior management may have great policies and laudable aims, these are not always filtering through to the point where they become critical. If the line manager is not enlightened to conscious or unconscious gender biases, then women will not progress and the biggest pinch point is maternity transition."

Employers recognise that this is an issue they need to address.

"This goes beyond keeping working mothers in the workplace or retaining them after maternity leave, it is about retaining all women and even attracting female talent in the workplace," continues Martin. …

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