1 in 5 women say it's impossible to gain senior roles in British Businesses

Nearly a fifth of women (17%) think it’s impossible to reach senior management of a British Business, according to research by O2.

Whilst there has been significant progress in many UK boardrooms since Lord Davies’ Women on Boards 25% target set in 2011, 45% of working women don’t think that there are enough women occupying senior positions in their company.

On a more personal note, when women were asked about their own careers, a third (32%) revealed that it had failed to meet their expectations. Of the women who felt their career had met or exceeded their expectations, ‘luck’ was deemed as the main factor in their success.

Around half (48%) of the 2000 working women polled stated that all the decision-makers in their company are male, and 36% of women felt they lacked confidence to ask for the promotion or pay rise that they felt they deserved.

Ann Pickering, O2’s HR Director and board member, said: “As an employer, today’s findings make for uncomfortable reading. We want all our people - male and female - to feel supported and encouraged throughout their career, and it’s crucial that we remove any stumbling blocks preventing them from fulfilling their ambition and potential.”

O2, in association with the CIPD is launching a new guide ‘Women in Leadership,’ to encourage women with talent and potential to reach the highest levels in British businesses.

Pickering continues: “We need to focus our efforts on women at every level, creating a strong pipeline of female talent across British businesses. If we fail to do this, there is a very real risk that these women will seek these opportunities elsewhere.”

Dianah Worman OBE, Public Policy Adviser for Diversity at the CIPD, wants: “all parties in the forthcoming election to commit to a new voluntary target for at least 20% of executive director positions in FTSE 100 firms to be filled by women by 2020.”

“Anything that limits an organisation’s ability to appoint, promote and retain half of society’s potential leaders simply because of their gender has to be addressed.  The guide we’re supporting O2 to launch today will help others who want to improve their ability to select from the best potential leaders, regardless of gender.”

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Comments (2)

  • Alyson Ayland
    Alyson Ayland@ Simon Hayward at Cir
    Wed, 21 Jan 2015 9:57am GMT
    I've been hearing this since I started my career in 1989 and not only has nothing changed but business culture has actually become more macho. I have experience in all 3 sectors and would say that the desire to please Wall Street has led to an Apprentice-style combative workplace in the private sector with a whittling away of funding to the public sector in the belief that the private sector does it better - Hinchinbrook proves otherwise. The only thing the private sector is better at is being aggressive in its drive to squeeze more profit out of everything. In my experience, women are task-focused, concerned about getting a great job done and that is often at odds with achieving double digit growth year after year.
  • Simon Hayward at Cir
    Simon Hayward at Cir
    Tue, 20 Jan 2015 1:30pm GMT
    This is a disappointing read and one that should spur all CEO's to look harder for women talent in their organisations and to give them the chance to show what they can do. I believe career attainment should be based on merit, but if we are distorting how that merit is recognised we are probably missing out on some brilliant talent to drive future UK business success.

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