Remove flexible working stigma to improve women’s career chances says report

UK leads Western Europe in offering flexible working and checking it's safeEmployers need to stop viewing female progression as a diversity issue and see the promotion of women in the workplace as a core business priority. This is according to a major new report by charity Opportunity Now, which surveyed 23,000 women between the ages of 28 and 40 as well as 2,000 men, to try and determine why women tend to be less successful than men at work after the age of 28, The report found a gap between organisational policies and the actual experiences of women at work, particularly women aged 28-40, including real challenges around bullying and harassment. And in a challenge to proposals for female-only programmes, the research found that women actually want better line management and initiatives such as flexible working – without the stigma it can cause which can often be an obstacle to progression.

Set aspirational targets for the numbers of women you want to see at each senior level in your organisation, advises the report and prioritise the development of excellent managers at every level of your organisation

In a nod to requests by women for flexible working, it advises employers to create a truly agile organisation, with women and men able to work in a way that makes them productive and engaged.

The report says that employers should make more allowances for non-linear careers – as top talent will have times in their lives they need to take a step back.

It also warns that employers must acknowledge that harassment and bullying still occurs, despite well-meaning policies.

For more information on the report click here.