With only 15% of FTSE 250 boards made up of women, research published this week by Robert Half company Office Team showed that more than 50% of HR directors feel women are still not advancing their careers on a par with men.
The majority of HR directors questioned (70%) believe the ‘progression gap’ is down to an inability to manage work-life balance and parental duties.
When asked what steps organisations should take to help remedy this, 53% said flexible working and job share opportunities would help narrow the divide and ensure the UK economy does not lose talented working mothers.
The HR directors saw lack of promotion opportunities as a key issue for women, pointing to the fact that only 4 FTSE 100 businesses are headed by women. While London has just under a third (32%) of women in management, in the Midlands only 25% of management positions are held by women, with the rest of the country seeing around 27%.
In addition, 59% of HR directors agree that societal perceptions of a woman’s role affects career progression, with 56% also feeling women are not volunteering for projects.
Estelle James, director at OfficeTeam UK, commented: “Our research shows that many women are missing out on promotional opportunities. Some female candidates can be guilty of underestimating themselves and their ability to succeed, which ultimately has a detrimental effect on their career. Almost half (48%) of HR directors believe that by identifying and encouraging high potential talent earlier on in their careers could potentially narrow this gender gap. Without this visibility, there’s a good chance women will continue to miss out on promotions and that movement up the corporate ladder.”
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