Two-thirds of professional females are working fewer hours than they prefer and entering lower-paid or lower-skilled roles once returning to work after a career break, according to new research.
Published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in partnership with the 30% Club and Women Returners, researchers found that, out of the estimated 427,000 females currently on a career break in the UK, three-in-five (249,000) are likely to enter lower-skilled roles upon returning to the workplace. A further 29,000 females returning to part-time employment would prefer to work longer hours, but are unable to do so due to a lack of flexible roles.
Researchers also predict a total of 278,000 females could be working below their potential when they return to the workforce.
Brenda Trenowden, Global Chair of 30% Club said: “Recruiters and employers need to do more to reassess how they evaluate a candidate’s potential and work to address the negative bias towards CV gaps.
“Getting more senior women back into the workplace will help businesses build stronger pipelines of potential female leaders and improve the diversity of businesses at senior levels. Returnships create an effective route back to mid- to senior-level professional roles, and the availability of part-time and flexible opportunities in professional roles helps widen the pool of talent businesses can access.”
Focusing on ‘occupational downgrade’ could potentially have significant personal economic and business gains for professional females working at their full potential, according to the research – boosting their combined annual earnings by £637 million.
Furthermore, increasing the hours worked by part-time females could contribute an additional 14,000 full-time employees to the UK workforce every year, increasing earnings to this group by £423 million.
Read the full report here