The research, which surveyed over 500 senior individuals in firms, indicates that a high number of male business leaders are deliberately refusing to follow equality and diversity laws. Of the individuals questioned, 40% admitted that they perceived male employees as being more committed to their roles, with 37% stating they would advertise men-only positions if the law permitted them to do so.
Furthermore, 29% of the participants would turn down applications from women with young children and, additionally, 28% would not take on a female worker if she was recently married. These statistics only serve to highlight that women continue to be routinely discriminated against in the workplace due to issues of maternity leave and childcare.
Organisations should therefore take steps to ensure a fair and open procedure for their hiring processes. Managers should be fully trained on diversity and impartiality in order to ensure that any personal prejudices do not affect the final decisions made for filling the role. Furthermore, they should consider consulting with HR to ensure that all questions asked during the interview stages are non-discriminatory and entirely based around the position in question.
It would also be a good idea to make sure that the workforce is fully up-to-date with the options available for staff members who wish to start a family. The company could promote shared parental leave, encouraging fathers or partners to share the time away from work and thus help the mother return to her job sooner. This would also allow the employee to avoid a prolonged period away from her career, encouraging her progression and therefore helping an organisation to work against any issues of a gender pay gap.
The issue of equal opportunities and the gender pay gap continues to garner significant interest throughout the UK, with the ECHR recently outlining a worry that provisions for women’s basic employment rights and funding for women’s services could be vulnerable after Brexit.