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Q & Angel: Women, Work & Making Your Career Pay

Tuesday March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrating the “social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women”. This year IWD founders are keen to highlight the issue of gender parity with their #PledgeForParity theme.

Just two years ago the World Economic Forum predicted the gender gap would close by 2095, but one year later this had slowed. Now it won’t close entirely until 2133. That’s 117 years!

This issue is so key to all our futures that 2015 saw the establishment of the Women’s Equality party (WE) co-founded by author and journalist Catherine Mayer and broadcaster and author Sandi Toksvig.

So, with this in mind our consultants talk to us about women and the workplace and tell us what Angel is doing to help.

1. How does Angel support women in work?

Angel is committed to providing equal opportunities for our all our candidates. That’s why we’ve placed over 5,000 mums with young kids in flexible, family-friendly roles in the last 5 years.

2. Which sectors provide the greatest family friendly roles?

Care and hospitality provide particularly flexible opportunities for women due to their long operating hours and shift culture – meaning you don’t have to work the usual 9 to 5 and can often choose hours to suit you.

Our Angel Care team even provide on the job training, if you’re looking for a way into flexible work without having to take more time to re-qualify.

3. How are big UK businesses supporting women?

Angel is committed to working with companies committed to gender diversity, like BT, Barclays, Arup and Credit Suisse – all of whom were included on the The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2015 list.

Credit Suisse, for example, is committed to increasing the proportion of women in specialist and management positions and runs programmes specifically to attract and retain female professionals.

While 2014 saw the launch of Real Returns, an initiative which aims to “…re-engage well-qualified women who are looking to restart their careers after an extended absence.”

4. Childcare is still something seen as a woman’s issue, ex Lib-Dem MP Jo Swinson says things are worse now than 2005, what’s happening there?

Recent statistics estimate that around 54,000 new mothers are forced out of jobs each year and the recession seemed to make things more challenging.

But, Shared Parental Leave legislation (SPL), introduced last year should help. Although the legislation is quite hard to navigate and it’s not available to every father. [Find out more about SPL over on the ACAS website.]

5. Can the UK follow in the footsteps of the more gender equal Nordic countries?

Yes, the Nordic countries, particularly Norway, are seen as leaders in gender equality and have offered equal paternity rights for many years. But, it took a long time for fathers and workplaces to adapt, so legislation in itself may not be enough.

Although in a Linklaters survey of FTSE 100 employees 63% said they’d be interested in taking SPL, with men and women displaying equal interest, so maybe equal paternity rights may not be so far away.

6. But do equal opportunities make good business sense?

Yes, according to the Women’s Business Council – a body set up in 2012 to advise Government on how women’s contribution to growth can be optimised – equalising women’s productivity and employment could add almost £600 billion to the UK economy.

Plus, a more diverse workplace is proven to make better decisions and are better at problem solving.Tweet: Plus, a more diverse workplace is proven to make better decisions and are better at problem solving. @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel #IWD2016
Added to which, women have many of the skills employers need.

7.What skills have women got that employers are looking for right now?

Well, according to IPPR (the Institute of Public Policy Research) by 2022 around 2.75 million extra care workers, nurses, doctors and social workers will be required to meet demand, making health and social care roles the UK’s most in demand professions.

Which is great for women because around 1 in 3 female graduates has a degree in education or health related studies in comparison to only 1 in 11 men. Take a look at our Care paper HERE.

However, in contrast, only 1 in 5 female graduates has a degree in business and finance, sciences or engineering (STEM), despite almost half of graduate degrees being in these subjects.

8. Why is women’s lack of business and STEM qualifications an issue?

Well, for example, it’s estimated that over 100,000 new technical professionals are needed each year to 2020 and employers are looking, in part, to women to fill the gap, but if they haven’t got the qualifications they can’t.

Added to which there is increasing evidence that less diverse companies actually perform worse than average, and women are significantly underrepresented in the engineering and technology sector.
That’s why initiatives like WISE have been established – their mission is to get 1 million more women in the UK STEM workforce.

9. What if women aren’t trained or qualified for today’s marketplace?

As mentioned above many women choose to re-train and enter flexible services like care – something Angel supports people to do, on-the-job, in many cases.

However, Barbara Kasumu, co-founder of a youth employment charity told the Telegraph that she fills her own knowledge gaps by enrolling on courses and workshops, on coding, building apps and using DTP software, in order to give her a greater edge in business.

10. What advice do you have for women in the workplace today?

If you’re a woman looking for work after a career break recruitment agencies, like Angel, can guide you on next best steps. Tweet: If you’re a woman looking for work after a career break recruitment agencies, like Angel, can guide you on next best steps. @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel #IWD2016
Alternatively, if you’re already in work but don’t feel your talents are being utilised effectively, speaking to a sector professional could also help you assess both the market and where your skills may best targeted.

Intrigued? Why not read our women and work paper over HERE

Now over to you:

Have any thoughts on what you’ve read? Got any burning questions we could put to future Q & Angel guests? As ever, we want to hear what you’ve got to say!

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