Pressures, Promotions, Pay-rises and Parity

A study exploring the barriers to women’s confidence and progression in the workplace.

Press photograph. Interior. Agile Nation project awards ceremony. Swansea - March 5, 2014. Woman holding an A4 piece of paper with BE MORE CONFIDENT IN MY SKILLS written across it.

Women’s confidence and progression

The majority of graduates from UK Higher Education Institutions are female, and women make up over 48% of the workforce in Wales.

Despite progress towards a more inclusive and equitable labour market, research in 2013 by the Institute of Leadership and Management ( ILM ) found that almost three quarters of women felt that there were gender barriers preventing them from reaching the highest tier of management.



One key barrier identified was workplace confidence.

The same ILM research found that men are more inclined than women to apply for jobs if they feel that they only partially meet the job description; 20% against 14%.

This headline-statistic hints at a complex, subtle, and delicate issue that is more difficult to define and address than some other, more established barriers faced by women at work ( such as the disproportionate responsibility for caring for children and/or relatives ).

Women’s experience of work continues to be affected by stereotypes. Although this has improved in recent years, there are particular associations – such as primacy in childcare – that persist. More subtle differences, such as expectations in respect of behavioural characteristics at work, also endure.

For example, negative associations with flexible working are attached to women. Achieving less of a gender bias in part- time work, flexible hours, and job share arrangements could help to reduce this and enable all members of the workforce to balance care er satisfaction with other aspects of their lives.


Related article:

Institute of Leadership & Management website: Ambition and Gender at Work.


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