According to the latest research, employers are still taking into account factors such as a woman’s likelihood of having children or whether they already have children, when hiring or awarding promotions.
The survey found that one in eight employers are reluctant to hire a woman who they consider likely to become pregnant and one in seven (14 per cent) take that and whether a female employee already has children into account when deciding on promotions.
The Young Women’s Trust charity claims that the results suggest that some employers are potentially breaking the law when making decisions about recruitment or career progression.
The YouGov poll of 802 HR decision-makers found that males (14 per cent) were slightly more likely than females (10 per cent) to let the prospect of a candidate or employee having children affect their judgement.
The figures do appear to show a change in attitudes as the numbers have decreased over the past two years.
HR professionals were also less likely than in previous years to consider whether pregnancy was a possibility when making career progression decisions (22 per cent in 2018 and 25 per cent in 2017).
Young Women’s Trust’s director of communications and campaigns Joe Levenson said: “It is encouraging that fewer bosses than previously say they would be reluctant to employ women who may go on to have children. However, there can be no room for complacency as ‘dinosaur bosses’ are still found in many workplaces, unfairly overlooking women when it comes to recruitment and promotion and breaking the law in the process.”
The government has said legal protections for pregnant women and new mothers will be extended to six months after they return to work, but no timescale for the legislation’s introduction has yet been provided.