Two thirds of women perceive their employer as lagging behind others when it comes to career equality.
New research conducted in the UK by global tech consultant Thoughtworks, citing a representative sample of 1,000 women, found that most thought their organisations lagged behind the industry when it came to equal pay and equitable opportunity (63%), representation (64%), and career development (64%).
A significant proportion of women believed their employer either did not have a plan or did not know where to start to address issues of equal pay (30%), representation (26%) or career development (32%).
Less than half of the women surveyed (39%) could point to initiatives put in place by the organisation to address gender inequality, and only one in seven said their organisation had programmes to mentor women employees, while almost a quarter said their employer provided inclusion training.
In terms of supporting parents in the workplace, a similarly high proportion of women felt there was more work that could be done – 63% felt that their employers were behind the industry when it came to supporting working parents, with 29% believing their organisation either did not have a plan to resolve this issue or did not know where to start. Just one in six (18%) said their organisation has an official return to work programme.
Gender pay gap
Most employees (89%) of both sexes agreed that there were business benefits from championing gender equality issues. Almost a third (29%) could see that it would foster better employee relationships, with the same proportion believing it would increase staff retention.
Commenting on the research, timed for International Women’s Day, Amy Lynch, head of diversity, equity and inclusion at Thoughtworks UK, said: “There have been some seismic shifts in just a couple of generations; however our results serve as a reminder that the finishing line is still some way off. We have to be candid that some challenges remain, but we can change this with positive action, effective policies and dedication all year round.
“For the tech sector, this is particularly important. There is a wealth of talent out there that does not fit a preconceived mould and importantly could offer a sector which relies on innovation and different ways of thinking, a fresh perspective. A culture of inclusion and equity is an essential factor in the quest to attract and retain the best talent. It is the responsibility of leaders within the sector to create paths to give communities that feel technology is not for them the confidence to apply for jobs.”
Lynch said Thoughtworks was aiming to increase diversity further within the company. Sixty percent of its executive officers are women, and it has a target to have 40% of its technology roles fulfilled by women by the end of this year.