More than two thirds of women with childcare responsibilities say they feel they have lost out on career progression as a result.
New research published today by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and panel provider Find Out Now also showed that half of women believe that they will miss out on career advancement as a result of undergoing the menopause.
Released to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8, BCC has outlined a three-year plan to deal with gender equality in the workplace.
The research also reveals that more than eight in ten (86 per cent) women disagree that there is sufficient support for people with caring responsibilities for elderly or disabled relatives or friends.
Vicky Wainwright, President of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said:“The findings from the British Chamber of Commerce and Find Out Now are shocking. They highlight the urgent need for radical and progressive reform of our attitude to the workplace.”
“These issues are not only holding back the careers and ambitions of thousands of women, they are damaging Britain’s economy and society in depriving it of so much talent.”
Two-thirds (67 per cent) of female respondents who have had childcare responsibilities in the last 10 years felt they missed out on career progression as a result. This includes career development, pay rises and/or promotions. For male respondents who have had childcare responsibilities, 35 per cent believed they missed out.
Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of female respondents said they would prefer to take time from paid work for childcare responsibilities, compared to 55 per cent of male respondents.
General caring responsibilities
Seventy-seven per cent of male respondents believe there is not sufficient support available for people with non-paid caring responsibilities for elderly or disabled relatives or friends. This figure increases to 86 per cent for female respondents.
For those who have had caring responsibilities in the last 10 years, an equal proportion (52 per cent) of males and female respondents felt they missed out on career progression because of their duties.
Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of female respondents feel there is not sufficient support for those experiencing menopause.
One in three (34 per cent) female respondents who have gone through menopause felt that it impacted their career negatively.
However, there is a higher level of concern about the impact of menopause on a woman’s career amongst those who are yet to experience it. Almost half (43 per cent) of female respondents believe they will miss out on career opportunities due to menopause.
Levelling Up for Women in the Workplace
The BCC is committed to facing these challenges head-on by levelling up for women in the workplace, through an urgent three-year Chamber campaign.
The campaign will be based on a three-point plan, to include:
- Short-term action: Convene employment experts, Chamber CEOs and employers to create a Chamber Workplace Equity Commission
- Medium-term work: The commission to analyse research findings and case studies to develop policies for Government and best practices for businesses enshrining equity in the workplace.
- Long-term goal: Re-run the same survey with the aim of moving the dial on the findings we are publishing today.
Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said: “This survey is the first of its kind carried out by the BCC. With over 4,000 respondents, it is a significant contribution to assessing the state of play of gender equity across society today.
“Many people feel that the burden of childcare, caring responsibilities and menopause have had a negative impact on their career, but women report higher levels of concern across the board.
“What women want is a level playing field. They don’t want handouts or a hand up, they simply want to make sure there are no barriers to career progression and face the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
“Tackling these issues is integral not only to the wellbeing of our women and workplaces, it is crucial to the functioning of any strong economy.”
Sarah Howard MBE, Chair of the BCC, said: “Today is day one of our three-year BCC campaign to face these challenges head-on by levelling up for women in the workplace.
“Priority number one is to immediately form a BCC Workplace Equity Commission with business leaders, employment experts and Chamber CEOs from across our national and international network to analyse the survey findings in detail.
“The commission, led by the BCC, will work with Government to help shape the future of the workplace and will also develop best practices for businesses to adopt.
“Our ultimate goal is to see the dial moving in the right direction when we rerun this same survey again over the course of the next three years.
“A level playing field is not just a nice to have. Gender equity is good for the economy, good for our labour market and good for society as a whole.”