41% of women expect to face discrimination at work

Gender pay gap

More than four in 10 young women believe their gender will count against them during their career, according to a survey that found only 4 per cent of boys believe they might also face some form of career-limiting sex discrimination in the workplace, reports The Guardian.

The poll for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) reported that 41 per cent of young women, all aged between 13 and 22, believed discrimination would hold back their careers, more than 10 times the figure for boys.

Approximately 20 per cent of boys not only rejected concerns they might face discrimination, they said their gender would have a positive effect on their career, allowing them to earn more than their female counterparts.

The survey follows a series of reports showing that women face a higher risk of harassment and discrimination at work. A recent TUC study found that more than half of all women and nearly two-thirds of women aged 18 to 24 said they have experienced sexual harassment at work.

Workers recently won the right to lodge a sex discrimination claim against Asda that could force the supermarket chain to adjust the pay of many of its 130,000 shop floor staff and make back payments to those involved in the case going back to 2002, at an estimated cost of up to £100m.

The building industry was singled out by young women as one of the worst offenders that was ripe for change, according to the survey.

A quarter of young women said that employing a diverse range of people was the most important factor when thinking about a company they would work for. They said it would take a female chief executive or a successful female prime minister to turn the situation around.

The Rics chief executive, Sean Tompkins, said the survey showed that senior executives needed to take responsibility for changing attitudes. Tompkins said his first move would be to avoid speaking on conference platforms that only featured men, which he said was common in the building industry.

“There is a big responsibility on male executives to understand the unconscious biases that discriminate against women and use that knowledge to change the culture in their organisations,” he said.

“We are starting to see a rise in the number of young women in the sector, but not necessarily emerging as spokespeople,” he said.

Only 13 per cent of qualified surveyors in the UK are women compared with a 15 per cent global total of Rics members. Two in 10 trainees are women, globally compared with just 17 per cent in the UK.