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Women face 'career paradox' as gender barriers remain

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A study into support for women at work highlights almost half of women (44%) still face barriers at work, despite 80% saying they feel supported.

The report, The Career Paradox For UK Women, surveyed 1,000 female employees across a number of sectors. 

It highlights a 'paradox' between women's perceptions and reality. Across all sectors, 80% of women feel their employer supports female workers.

However, almost half (44%) say their gender has hindered their career, or will in the future. Over one-third (36%) have experienced prejudice in the workplace because of their gender. 

Accountancy is the most supportive sector, with 94% of women saying they are confident in their employers' ability to support and retain female staff. 

The research found that in the engineering sector only 11% of women are confident that their employers can retain female employees, with male-dominance in the workplace cited as the main barrier. Talking Talent commercial director Chris Martin told HR magazine there is 'no silver lining" for engineering.

"The worst results are clearly around engineering and manufacturing sectors," he said. "There is a fundamental problem with male-dominated environments, where women feel prejudiced against in a number of cases. It's a real problem as it may put female graduates off going into the area."

He did, however, praise the accountancy sector, saying it is no accident that the figures are so positive. 

"If you look at firms like EY, the desire for diversity at the top level is absolutely at the core of what they want to achieve," he said. "A lot of it is client-driven. The clients want to see diversity in the organisation."