Bias and discrimination ‘hold women back from finding work’

·2-min read

Nearly two in three women in the UK believe bias and discrimination are still holding women back from finding work, a survey suggests.

More than two in five (41%) women worry that their gender is a barrier to finding a new job and 30% worry their race is a barrier, according to research commissioned by one of the country’s largest education companies.

A survey from educational publishing group Pearson suggests that nearly three in four (74%) women have concerns about finding a job that pays them enough to support themselves and their families, while nearly half (49%) are concerned about finding a job that will allow them to care for their families.

Overall, 65% believe bias and discrimination are holding women back from finding work, while 63% worry their age is a barrier, according to the survey of 1,000 working-age women in the UK.

More than two in five (42%) women, who are employed or actively looking for work, cited maintaining their mental health as their biggest stressor, followed by financial stability concerns (36%).

Nearly three in ten (29%) cited helping children with online schooling as one of the biggest stressors.

Women in the UK are most interested in having a competitive salary and flexible schedules (both 34%), mental health services (32%) and remote work options (19%) from their employers.

Pearson commissioned a survey of 6,000 working-age women in the United States, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and the UK, with 1,000 women per nation questioned.

It found that 68% of women globally, and 53% in the UK, say the Covid-19 pandemic has made them rethink their career path.

The survey, which was carried out between August and September, suggests nearly half (48%) of women globally are planning to change jobs or start working in the next six months, compared with 37% in the UK.

Nine in ten women globally, and 85% in the UK, say they will make at least one move in the next year to boost their job prospects or change careers.

But only 7% of women in the UK said they plan to start their own business in the next year, compared with 20% of women globally, the survey shows.

Globally it is Generation Z women (those born between 1997 and 2012) who are more likely than other age groups to want employers to offer training to prevent sexual harassment (15%).

Freya Thomas Monk, senior vice-president of Pearson tests of English, said: “Coming out of the pandemic we see women rethinking their career paths, using the next twelve months to seek out new job opportunities or rejoin the workforce, for instance.

“Despite continuing to face both traditional and Covid-era challenges they believe are holding them back in the workplace, such as ongoing gender bias and the mental health challenges of homeschooling during Covid, women are forging ahead to develop new skills and seek out employment options that are right for them.”

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