Women being passed over for top jobs, report finds

Michelle Mone: Ultimo founder is one of Scotland's few female company heads.
Michelle Mone: Ultimo founder is one of Scotland's few female company heads.© STV

Women continue to be passed over for Scotland's top jobs, according to a report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Figures from the Sex & Power 2011 report reveal that, while women are graduating from university in increasing numbers and with better degree results than men, they are not entering management ranks at the same rate, and many remain trapped in the layer below senior management.

The report looked at 14 occupational categories in Scotland and found that, while the number of women in some senior posts has increased since 2007/8, there are still areas where there are significant gaps.

To highlight the scale of the challenge, the Commission has calculated the women 'missing' from senior positions in Scotland. The number of 'missing' women has been calculated as half the total number of posts minus the number of posts held by women.

Women 'missing' from senior positions in Scotland include 109 missing from 614 public appointments, 68 missing from the 356 head teachers of secondary schools and 19 missing from the 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament

The index also shows that of Scotland's 27 Senior Police Officers, only 4 are women and only 3 of 32 local authority council leaders are women. It also claims that the proportion of women holding public appointments in 2011 is less than it was in 2003.

Kaliani Lyle, Scotland Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "Young women clearly have aspirations. They are graduating from university in increasing numbers and their academic qualifications are better than those of men.

"Talented, educated young women are flooding the marketplace at graduate level. But have a look a few years down the line. Many have disappeared from the paid workforce or become trapped in the layer below senior management.

"Consequently, the higher ranks in many organisations are still dominated by men, resulting in an avoidable loss of talent.

"The high numbers of 'missing women' reflect barriers in attitudes and working practices that need to be addressed. We cannot afford to marginalise or reject talented people simply because working practices are outdated or inflexible, or traditional attitudes to gender roles are accepted without question.

"If Scotland is to have a strong and fair economic recovery, then we have to ensure we unlock women's talent in the work place."

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