Millions more women in work than a decade ago

There are two million more women in employment in the UK than there were in 2010, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Figures show 15.7 million women in employment, while there has been significant progression in the number of women working at senior level.

The number of women becoming managers, directors and senior officials has risen by almost 25% since 2010, while the number of women in high-skilled jobs has increased 38.5% in the same time period.

More on women in the workplace:

Women drive sharp rise in temporary work

Women's role in the economy transformed since 1992

HR has the opportunity to help progress women at work

Mandy Garner, spokeswoman for job site Working Mums, said a wider range of flexible working opportunities has helped more women get into the workforce.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "There are many different possible reasons for this increase, but the availability of more flexible working has undoubtedly played a role, and the role of technology in enabling flexible working to work too. Also, the rising price of living and the impact of austerity, including benefits changes.

"It used to be perfectly normal to stay at home and stop working when your children were under school age, but that has changed totally."

The data also showed the number of women in professional occupations has risen by 40% since 2010, at a time when the unemployment rate - 3.8% - has reached pre-pandemic levels.

Garner said employers have worked harder to make the workplace more inclusive.

She said: "Employers today are putting a lot more into retaining women after they have had children and have introduced policies such as returner programmes to attract back those who have taken career breaks. This makes returning to work a more attractive possibility to many women.

"Increasing flexibility in the workplace to let more people in, and promoting more women in these roles is a great step forwards."