Number of women in senior jobs drops

Women face 'concrete ceiling' as numbers in senior jobs plummets

The number of women in senior level jobs has plummeted, a new report suggests.

Fewer and fewer women are reaching top jobs in politics, the media and the law and are hitting a ‘reinforced concrete ceiling‘, preventing them from promotion, say equality watchdogs.

The fifth annual Sex and Power report delivered by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) revealed that women hold just 11% of FTSE 100 directorships and make up just 19.3% of MPs.

Worrying, the figures show that progression in equality has come to a standstill in some areas and actually gone into reverse in others. In 12 of the 25 different job categories the report focused on, fewer women held top positions in 2007 than in the previous year and in five other categories the percentage of women remained the same.

On the upside the report showed the number of women had increased in eight areas including company director positions and the civil service.

The EHRC said more flexible working hours were the key to helping women reach the top of their professions. The Commission blamed Britain’s long hours culture and inflexible working habits for deterring women who wish to both work and raise a family.

Nicola Brewer, EHRC chief executive, commented: ‘Workplaces forged in an era of stay-at-home mums and breadwinner dads are putting too many barriers in the way, resulting in an avoidable loss of talent at the top.’

She added: ‘We always speak of a glass ceiling. These figures reveal that in some cases it appears to be made of reinforced concrete.’

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