The Apprentice | Pregnant pause please Sir Alan

Sir Alan Sugar’s views on women in the workplace - and how they should be upfront in job interviews about their intention to start a family – are well publicised.

The boardroom Gruffalo believes employment laws are damaging to women as it puts a doubt in the mind of prospective employers about their commitment and suitability for a role. Women should be more upfront and pre-empt what may be in the mind of the person across the table, he says.

“I know this is not fair,” he says, “but business doesn’t always do fair. Women have to accept this reality and be shrewd enough to deal with it.”

Sir Alan chose to dig himself deeper into a hole with a column in The Mirror last month. Women should tell the interviwer about their plans when it comes to having kids, then say why they are the right person for the job.“I bet most women would agree with me,” he says. Er, no, I bet they wouldn’t. Women want to be recruited because they are right for the job, not because they are not planning to make babies.

God knows then what he would have thought of Natasha’s Kaplinsky’s announcement that she was pregnant six weeks after joining Five as their star newsreader.

Kaplinsky said she had discussed with Five bosses about her intentions to start a family, but I’m sure they would not have expected her to get knocked up so soon. That’s not a situation any employer would wish for, but it’s a fact of life that these things can happen.

Let’s see whether Sir Alan follows his own advice if a woman makes it through to the last two of The Apprentice. He already feels wronged by former winner Michelle Dewberry who fell pregnant a few months after joining his firm and then left.

My bet is a man will come out tops once again.

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2 Responses to The Apprentice | Pregnant pause please Sir Alan

  1. Claire Spooner 9 April 2008 at 1:54 pm #

    I strongly disagree with Mike Berry’s comments here. I feel Alan Sugar, as an employer, is justified in his comments. I would feel very aggrieved as an employer to employ a woman who after five minutes of joining the company, disappeared on maternity leave. This could be make or break for some small organisations.

  2. Greg Farn 9 April 2008 at 3:28 pm #

    Not sure what the fuss is about here, appoint on merit. Its that easy.

    If a candidate is honest enough to say she may be taking maternity leave, a decent interview panel will take that as a sign of honesty and integrity. I would expect Alan Sugar to do the same, and from what I have seen hes a fair bloke.

    To be clear though, I would not let anyone in my interview panels ask a maternity, paternity or adoption question, its emotive.

    Appoint on merit.