Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Glass ceiling still evident for women in Local Authorities

A new study has found that women within local authorities can feel that they are unable to apply for senior positions within their capability because of the design of job roles.

The study, which focussed on 1370 women in middle-ranking and senior jobs in four Local Authorities in England, found that women were failing to reach their potential because of inflexible job design and cultural expectations about full-time working and long hours. Of those who did reach senior levels, many felt unable to ask for flexible working or less than full time hours due to an informal rule that this type of working practice was unacceptable.

The study, Women's Career Development in the Local Authority Sector, revealed that many senior women in these local authorities felt a long hours and male dominated culture had disadvantaged them in the workplace. For women with children these practices had a disproportionate impact as they often needed to work part time.

The study found that despite these perceived barriers, many women working in the sector were highly committed to their jobs, enthusiastic about training and development and aspired to successful careers. Over 55 per cent of those contracted to work 31-37 hours a week were routinely working much longer hours, mainly due to their commitment to their jobs.

Over 60 per cent of the women surveyed who earned over £27,000 had never used their employer’s flexible working policies and fewer than 17 per cent of the women in this group were part-time employees.

Professor Sue Yeandle, who directed the research programme at Sheffield Hallam University and is an author of the study explains, "This study acts not only as evidence of what is happening in this particular sector, but raises concerns about women's experiences at work throughout the UK. Local authorities are in some ways very progressive employers, so if senior women in this type of organisation feel unable to work flexibly it is unlikely that women in other organisations are having better experiences.

"None of the authorities routinely advertised senior roles as possible part time opportunities and women who had gone part time often felt that their workload had not been adjusted to take account of the new hours.

"If the UK is to continue to prosper, then the skills, talent and enthusiasm of half its population cannot continue to be under-utilised in this way. We must move on from an employment system designed for the last century - it makes good business sense to design jobs around real people's lives as this is the only way employers can recruit from the best possible pool of people and retain the talent they have."

Jenny Watson, Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said, "These findings show that women are still facing many obstacles in the workplace and often end up in low paid, low prospect work despite being well qualified, especially when they want to work flexibly. There's a real opportunity for all us here. If the pay gap were closed, the Women and Work Commission estimates up to £23 billion could be added to the economy per year. It's particularly important to open up higher paid work to people who want to work flexibly so that they don't have to "trade down" to find the working style they need and employers don't have to lose out on their skills and experience. The EOC's ongoing investigation into transforming the workplace is looking, with employers, at how to do this."

Lorna Branton | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>