Equality for women still a long way off

10th March 2014

MGI World Equality for women still a long way off

Women from around the globe do not feel there is yet genuine equality in the workplace, according to a major new study from PwC. Commissioned to mark International Women’s Day on March 8th, the survey of 40,000 people born between 1980 and 1995 - the so-called millennials - shows that gender equality remains a major issue for employers.

The research, Next generation diversity - Developing tomorrow's female leaders, shows more than half (55 per cent) of millennials do not feel opportunities are equal for all.

In terms of internal promotions, nearly a third (29 per cent) of female millennials think their employers are biased in favour of men. Overall, the figure drops to 24 per cent when men’s perceptions are included, highlighting a gap in how the two genders feel about what's actually happening.

PwC said: “In particular, the perception of gender bias in the workplace remains a concern for female millennials. The female millennial is more likely than her male counterpart to believe that organisations are too male biased when it comes to attraction, developing, and retention.”

Looking at the issue internationally, there is a distinct difference in what workers in each country think. For example a bias in favour of men is far more of a problem in Germany and Spain, where four in ten said there was a degree of prejudice, than in China and Brazil, where only one in 20 said employers favoured men.

India, France and the Netherlands also scored low, with the vast majority of employees, both male and female, saying there is no favouring of men. On the other hand, around a third of employees in Italy, Japan and Russia said employers are too male-biased when promoting from within.

The report also showed that perceptions really matter. With talent sourcing a key problem for businesses in the 21st century, attracting and retaining women becomes a far greater issue. Four in five (82 per cent) women said an employer’s policy on diversity, equality and inclusion was important for them when deciding whether to work for a firm.

“However, their expectations are not always met in practice; 55 per cent of millennials agree that organisations talk about diversity, but they don’t feel opportunities are really equal for all,” the authors state.

There is a clear gap between what employers think they are doing and how this new generation of workers, who are increasingly taking up key roles and playing an ever greater part in the workforce, view their actions.

Indeed, as the report concludes, “if employers are to be successful in capitalising on the strengths of this significant proportion of their current and future talent pool, the status quo will no longer suffice”.

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