Firms are reluctant to hire women if they suspect they plan to have children in the near future

Nearly one in three UK bosses admit they have or would reject a female job applicant and might be generally reluctant to hire women if they suspect they ‘might start a family soon’. Although this form of employment discrimination is unlawful, 15 percent anonymously admitted that they had broken sex discrimination laws. The new research of 501 bosses, carried out by law firm Slater and Gordon, also revealed that one in four bosses has rejected or would reject a woman, simply because she was a single parent. A further 29 percent said they have discounted or would discount a woman for a job role because she had young children and 28 percent said they have or would because she was recently engaged or married.

Over a third (37 percent) of of bosses admitted they would advertise positions for men only if the law allowed, with 40 percent saying they perceived men as being more committed to their jobs. The research suggests the female workforce is still facing significant levels of discrimination when it comes to trying to build a career and become a mother.

More than a third of senior decision makers said they would rather hire a man to get around the issue of offering maternity leave. Sadly, 14 percent of all the bosses surveyed, admitted they do not do thing to support mothers when coming back to work, after being on maternity leave. And 36 percent said they think ‘women are more of a future investment risk’ than men.

“A huge shift in attitudes still needs to take place before women feel they are not penalised for wanting both a career and children. Men are never asked to choose between the two. This discrimination also affects women generally, those who don’t plan to have children or already have children as it is about attitudes and stereotypes applied to women generally.” Remziye Ozcan, employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon