“Recruitment decision-makers” holding back gender equality

Those in charge of hiring are proving to be a barrier in attempts to achieve a gender-equal working environment, according to research by the Fawcett Society.

Fawcett Society’s research, carried out by Survation, discovered that those “responsible for recruitment decisions” are twice as likely (16%) as the general population (seven per cent) to be against equality.

Those in charge of hiring, regardless of their gender, also believe they will personally lose out if equality between men and women increases – 14% said they would lose out. Only four per cent of those not involved in recruitment held this view.

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive at the Fawcett Society, said: “A significant minority of managers - the ‘barrier bosses’ - are holding us back. They are the ones with the power over recruitment and their decisions are likely to be informed by their attitudes to equality. There are many progressive employers who are working hard to drive change, but if they are wondering what is holding up progress in their organisation this may explain why.

“Whether it is conscious or unconscious bias, this is discrimination in action. These are the people responsible for implementing equal opportunities policies yet 16% say they are opposed to the idea.

“This is bad for individual employers, because they are not recruiting or promoting the best people, and bad for the economy as they are holding women back, failing to use their skills and expertise.”

49% also felt that men in top jobs would not make the required room for women.

“This is at the heart of it,” Smethers added, “Despite the fact that men are overwhelmingly pro-equality a majority of people clearly believe that when it comes to the crunch, men won’t move over unless they have to.  This is why we need positive action and why quotas would make a difference.

“The argument has been won. We all want a more equal society but we also see that it won’t happen on its own. We have to make it happen.”

The poll asked 1,422 people who are “recruitment decision-makers.” 

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