By Katherine Bullock
The annual PwC Women in Work Index was launched last week [6 March] which shows that the UK ranks 18 out of 27 OECD countries. This is based on a combination of five key indicators:
- Equality of earnings with men;
- Proportion of women in work in absolute terms;
- Proportion of women in work relative to men;
- Female unemployment rate;
- And the proportion of women in full time employment.
The UK has made progress; we’ve moved up one place to 18th position. But the UK still lags behind many OECD countries when it comes to overall female economic empowerment. And it is important to remember that the UK was at 14th when the survey began in 2000.
The Nordic countries continue to lead. Norway, Sweden and Denmark have consistently occupied the top three positions in the Index for the last 14 years. While the prize for most dramatic improvement goes to Ireland with their wage gap narrowing from 20% in 2000 to 4% in the current survey.
Interestingly, while organisations talk about diversity, over half of the millennial generation (born between 1980 and 1995) do not feel that work opportunities are really equal for all.
Our report Next generation diversity – Developing tomorrow’s female leaders, which is based on a survey of over 40,000 global workers born between 1980 and 1995, reveals that nearly a third think that employers are too biased towards male employees when it comes to promotion.
But despite a significant number of female millennials experiencing unfairness in the workplace, the majority are confident about their own career progression, with promotion opportunities rated as the most attractive employer trait.
The perception of gender bias in organisations is key given that this generation of female workers is set to make up 25% of the global workforce by 2020.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that more and more women are setting up their own businesses to create their own workplace environment. And with people becoming ever more global, it isn't hard to see moves to other countries where there may be more equality in the work place becoming more common. Definitely a trend to watch!