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Bosses are still rejecting highly qualified women because they fear they will leave to have children

Women are better employees, say British bosses, but they are reluctant to offer them top jobs for fear they will leave to have children.

According to recruitment jobsite TheLadders' survey of 500 business leaders, women were found to perform better at interviews, have better presentation and communication, motivation skills, understand companies and cultures better, are more thorough, affable and able to balance multiple tasks.

But, according to 42.7% of senior management, they will not get the top job because they fear that women will leave to have children.

The survey revealed 59% agree women perform best at interview with women out-doing men in 11 out of 18 criteria necessary for successful job meetings.

Bosses cited qualifications (80%), fit (working as part of the team and company culture) (70.8%) and personality (65.5%) as the top three considerations in choosing the right candidate. 

When asked which gender delivered these criteria at interview, an overwhelming number pointed to the fairer sex. Almost six out of 10 (59%) bosses believe women present their skills more effectively, 63.9% say women understand the company culture and 72.3% find women more affable and personable in an interview situation.

When asked why there are not as many women who secure the top jobs, almost half the respondents said it was because they fear that women will leave to have children.  But 54% agree that there simply aren't as many female candidates as male ones and 51% say that society just expects men to be in leadership roles.

A further 45% claim women are less assertive when it comes to negotiating the top jobs and top salaries and 44.7% feel that lower pay and recognition for women is part of business stereotyping. And more than a quarter of those surveyed believe men are rewarded for being more committed than women in their jobs.

Derek Pilcher, managing director of TheLadders.co.uk, said: "Women obviously shine at interview and as such should be securing the top jobs when they apply. What is concerning is the un-spoken reasons for not employing women and, in particular, the fear of losing female management after they have had children. This too may be seriously impacting the number of women who make it through to leadership roles."