EMPLOYERS SERIOUS ABOUT CHANGE NEED TO MAKE FEMALE TALENT A CORE BUSINESS PRIORITY
“Project 28-40 – The Report” is a reality check for employers. There is a gap between organisational policies and the actual experiences of 28-40 women at work, including real challenges on bullying and harassment.
Women want excellent line management – the basics are far more important than more female only programmes.
Flexible working is essential to women in balancing their commitments, but the stigma attached can be an obstacle to progression.
Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and Chair of Opportunity Now, said:
“If business leaders are serious about change, we need to take the lead on women’s progression, moving this from a diversity initiative to a core business priority. Set aspirational targets for the number of women you want to see at every level of your organisation”.
Kathryn Nawrockyi, Director of Opportunity Now, said:
“Today’s report shows that women are just as confident, able and ambitious as men, while sharing similar priorities in work and life. Frustratingly, they are still not receiving enough support from their employers to achieve their ambitions.”
Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC and a member of the Opportunity Now advisory board, commented:
“More UK women than ever may be working, but our research shows that the workplace isn’t working for women. Too often there is a disconnect between organisations’ policies and the actual experience of women at work. For example, despite the perception that flexible working helps women, it could actually be holding them back in many cases. While the decision to go part-time is often made for short-term reasons, it seems to have a wider, long-term negative impact.
“We know women are confident and ambitious, but they have different goals to men. Until these goals are recognised as different, but valued equally with male priorities, workplaces will continue to disappoint and disillusion all but the most tenacious of women. To make real progress in supporting women’s careers, we need workplaces and a society that value women’s differences and support these aims. This means getting the basics, such as how people are assessed and rewarded at work, right.”
Project 28-40 is the UK’s biggest ever study of women’s ambitions. The project surveyed 25,000 women and men to examine why the rate of progression slows for women aged 28-40 compared to their male counterparts, and to develop solutions for employers to develop and retain their talented female staff whilst enabling women and men to balance their careers with life outside work.
Kathryn Nawrockyi, Director of Opportunity Now, added:
“We’ve set out simple things that organisations can do to make work better for all their employees – men and women – and now it’s up to them to take action. This is a great opportunity for employers to radically reassess and to create modern working practices, more highly engaged employees and fair, diverse and inclusive workplaces.”
The full report and recommendations are available via the Opportunity Now website.
The research was undertaken in partnership with PwC.