One-fifth of young men say their gender will help them earn more money; nearly half of business execs say gender pay gap is down to ‘natural discrimination’
More than two-fifths of young women expect to face sex discrimination at work, new research has found.
When questioned about their career expectations, 41 per cent of women aged between 13 and 22 said they felt their gender would negatively impact on their prospects, compared to just 4 per cent of young men, according to the YouGov poll, which was commissioned by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
One-fifth (20 per cent) of surveyed young men not only rejected the worry that they might face discrimination, but said their gender would be a positive influence on their careers, helping them earn more than their female peers.
If a company is not gender diverse, one in five young women said they definitely would not work there, or would barely consider doing so. The survey also found that the building industry was perceived as the worst for gender discrimination.
Lucile Kamar, equalities manager at RICS, said: “Encouraging young people into professions, making sure they feel able to progress and develop, and helping them to understand their contributions, regardless of their gender, will be the driver for positive change.
“It’s time for senior leadership to ‘walk the walk’ and commit to addressing diversity on panels and in the workplace. If young people don’t have the role models they need to get into the industry and remain in the industry, nothing will change.”
RICS CEO Sean Tompkins said senior executives must drive change in attitudes towards gender at work. “There is a big responsibility on male executives to understand the unconscious biases that discriminate against women and use that knowledge to change the culture in their organisations,” he said.
The research supports the idea that the responsibility of closing the gender gap lies with managers and executives, with 73 per cent of respondents saying the attitudes and behaviour of CEOs and senior leaders were important in encouraging equal numbers of men and women at work.
Meanwhile, a survey from Xactly suggested those at the top continued to hold outdated attitudes towards gender in the workplace, with almost half (49 per cent) of 250 UK executives saying the gender pay gap was the result of a ‘natural prejudice against women’.
A further 62 per cent said they felt the gap in pay was mainly caused by women taking time out of their careers to have children, and their struggle to catch up when returning to work.
“There are still pervasive gender issues in the workplace, even in 2016, and action is needed now if we want to ensure that the workplace can be as inclusive and diverse as possible,” Kamar said.
“Employers must work together to share strategies and progresses, and be proactive in finding the right leadership with regards to diversity and inclusion, to attract and retain the right people and talent regardless of their background, providing the same opportunities to everyone.”