Employers think men are more ambitious than women

Thursday 21 December 2017

New report finds employers think men are more ambitious than women 

YWTA YouGov survey for Young Women’s Trust has found that UK employers think men are more ambitious than women – despite nearly half of young women saying they would one day like to be the boss at work[1]

The charity’s report on employer attitudes, released today, shows that, when asked which qualities applied more to men or women, HR decision-makers are five times more likely to say that men – rather than women – are ambitious. Men were also deemed more confident, while women were more “conscientious”. Two fifths of employers said men were more likely to ask for pay rises (40 per cent) and promotions (39 per cent) than women. 

Meanwhile, 46 per cent of young women in a Populus Data Solutions survey for the charity of 4,000 18-30 year-olds said they would one day like to be the boss at work. 

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: 

“Young women do not lack ambition but too often they are held back by employers who – knowingly or not – discriminate against them. 

“It’s no wonder women are held back in the workplace when those making hiring decisions have such outdated views. It is employers and our economy that miss out on the talents of young women as a result. Young women who want to work are meanwhile struggling to make ends meet and finding themselves in debt. 

“We need urgent action to improve young women’s prospects and give them hope for the future. This means giving them the right skills and support to find jobs, ensuring decent and flexible jobs are available, making childcare accessible and affordable and changing the law to ensure under-25s are entitled to the same National Living Wage as everyone else. This would benefit businesses and the economy too.”

The report, ‘Working for women?’, based on a survey of 800 employers, also found that: 

  • One in ten are aware of women being paid less than men for jobs at the same level at their organisation during the last year
  • Half say Brexit will leave young people worse off
  • One in eight large employers admit workplace sexual harassment has gone unreported in their organisation
  • One in seven admit they would be reluctant to hire a woman who they thought may go on to have children
  • One in three (31 per cent) say that sexism in their workplace exists. Female respondents are more likely to say this than male ones (40 per cent female, 24 per cent male). 

Young Women's Trust offers free coaching and works with young women to build confidence and advocate for fair financial futures. 

ENDS 

Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust (http://www.youngwomenstrust.org/) supports and represents women aged 16-30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.
  2. Young Women’s Trust commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey of HR decision-makers. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 800 employees with HR decision-making responsibility. The fieldwork was undertaken between 5th April and 3rd May 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the UK business population by sector and size. The survey found that:
    1. 25 per cent say that men are more ambitious and five per cent say women;
    2. four per cent say men are more conscientious and 24 per cent say women;
    3. 28 per cent say men are more confident and five per cent say women;
    4. eight per cent say men are more reliable and 13 per cent say women;
    5. forty per cent say men were more likely to ask for a pay rise and five per cent say women; and
    6. 39 per cent say men were more likely to ask for a promotion and five per cent say women;
    7. On pay, the survey found that 10 per cent, or one in ten, say they are aware of women being paid less than men for jobs at the same level in their workplace in the past year. In large organisations, this number increased to 13 per cent, or one in eight.
    8. On Brexit, the survey showed that 49 per cent say that the economic implications of Brexit would negatively affect people aged 18 to 30 in the short-term, compared to 25 per cent who think it will have a positive impact. 46 per cent believe it will have a negative long-term impact too, while 36 per cent are more optimistic.
    9. On workplace sexual harassment and sexism:
      1. 8 per cent (1/13)  say they are aware of incidents of sexual harassment in their workplace that have gone unreported (1/8 or 12 per cent of large employers and 1/25 or 4 per cent of small and medium employers);
      2. 7 per cent (1/14) employers say there have been formal reports of sexual harassment in their workplace (1/10 or 10 per cent of large employers and 1/50 or 2 per cent of small and medium employers);
      3. 63 per cent of employers say that sexism in the workplace still exists (76 per cent of women and 54 per cent of men); and
      4. 31 per cent of employers say that sexism in their workplace still exists (40 per cent of women, 24 per cent of men and 40 per cent of large employers);
      5. On hiring women:
        1. 15 per cent, or one in seven, say “I would be reluctant to hire a woman who I thought may go on to have children” (18 per cent of men and 10 per cent of women);
        2. 14 per cent say “I would be concerned about recruiting women in their 20s and 30s who might have children in the future”;
        3. 25 per cent disagree with the statement “Whether a woman is pregnant or has young children has no impact on organisational decisions regarding career progression or promotion”, indicating that a quarter think that it does have an impact.
        4. Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to conduct a survey of young people. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year-olds in England and Wales, from the Populus Live Online Panel, were surveyed between 4 and 14 July 2017. The findings show that 46 per cent of young women – or nearly half – say they want to be the boss at work one day.
          1. Young Women’s Trust provides a free coaching and job application feedback service, ‘Work It Out’, to women in England and Wales aged 16 to 30. Having used the service, the feedback from clients has shown:
            1. 100 per cent of young women using the service said they were able to speak to a coach at a time and in a way that suited them;
            2. 93 per cent found the service helpful;
            3. 64 per cent felt more motivated to apply for a job after coaching; and
            4. 69 per cent felt more confident applying for a job after getting job application feedback.

For more information or case studies, please contact Bex Bailey on 07963018281 or bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org.


[1] A Populus Data Solutions survey for Young Women’s Trust of 4,000 young people found that 46 per cent of young women – or nearly half – say they want to be the boss at work one day.

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