Hays’ latest Diversity & Inclusion report has found that in the past year, 13 per cent of women have been asked in a job interview about their plans to have children or their caring responsibilities. Of these, 22 per cent think the asking and answering of such questions impacted their chance of securing the job. A further 34 per cent were unsure.
Based on responses from 1000 working professionals (men and women) across New Zealand and Australia the survey found only eight per cent of men surveyed also report being asked such questions in a job interview during the last 12 months. Of these, 10 per cent think it impacted their chance of securing the job with another 35 per cent unsure.
In addition, 57 per cent of women said there had been an occasion during their career when they felt their chance of being accepted for a job was lowered because of their gender. Only 22 per cent of women said their organisation actively works to develop underrepresented groups, specifically into leadership roles. Just 36 per cent of women said their organisation gives them access to mentors.
Less than half (48 per cent) of women say their career development conversations with their line manager are open and transparent.
And while an almost identical percentage of women and men (50 per cent and 49 per cent respectively) ask their manager for career advice at least once a year, fewer women (48 per cent compared to 55 per cent of men) say they have regular two-way conversations with their manager about their performance and career progression.
In positive news, 42 per cent of respondents said their line manager is female, up from 39 per cent in Hays’s 2017 diversity survey.
“While these findings reveal some signs of progress, the overall picture tells us we need to accelerate the pace of change to achieve genuine workplace gender diversity and inclusion,” said Adam Shapley, managing director of Hays in New Zealand. “It’s unacceptable that some hiring managers still ask people about their caring responsibilities or their plans to have children. In any job interview, the focus should be on the competencies required for the role. People should not ask, or make assumptions, about a person’s commitments outside of work based on their age or gender.
“It’s also telling that less than half of women feel they have open and transparent career development conversations with their boss,” he added. “With relevant experience key to gaining a senior or executive role, women need to be able to talk through their career ambitions with their manager and be given opportunities to break through and gain the necessary experience. This could be through stretch opportunities or working with a mentor on a project, both of which give women the opportunity to gain the experience required to be considered a suitable candidate for more senior roles.”