Mental health widely seen as a barrier to career progression

mental healthNew research from recruitment agency Hays claims that nearly a quarter (24 percent) of those who have or have experienced a mental health condition feel they do not have equal access to the same career progression opportunities as other colleagues. Similarly, 12 percent of those who have had or experienced mental ill health said they felt this had led to their chances of being selected for a job being lowered.

The survey of over 10,000 professionals and employers claims that nearly a quarter (23 percent) of professionals say they currently have or have experienced a mental health condition. More professionals at the start of their career report experiences, as 28 percent of those 25 and under said they have or have experienced a mental health condition, compared to a fifth (20 percent) of those aged 55+.

The research follows findings from the Hays Quarterly Insights Report which suggested that over half (53 percent) of professionals said support had become more important to them since lockdown, with less than half (47 percent) rating their wellbeing as positive.

More women than men report having experience of a condition, with over a quarter (27 percent) saying this compared to 18 percent of males. Of female professionals who are 25 and under, this is even more prevalent as 31 percent say they have, or have experienced, a mental health condition.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”The wellbeing of staff needs to be a key priority for all organisations.”[/perfectpullquote]

Commenting on the research, Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Hays, said: “Mental health has quite rightly been in the spotlight during the Covid-19 pandemic as the impact of the virus has been felt on our personal and professional lives. It’s clear from our research that the experience of mental health amongst professionals is concerning, particularly for younger professionals and females.

The wellbeing of staff needs to be a key priority for all organisations as we continue to navigate the challenges that Covid-19 has brought. For employers, there are several actions to take to help to support staff, such as talking more openly about mental health and what resources are available, ensuring managers have access to training in order to better spot signs of mental ill health – virtually too of course. Employers should re-assess the support available and how it is being communicated to staff to ensure it is reaching those who need it, as more staff work either fully or partially remotely.”

Image by Gerd Altmann