Many UK firms still discriminate against employment candidates on the basis of their age and sex, despite laws designed to prevent such bias.
This is according to research conducted by HireScores.com, which suggested that almost half (49 per cent) of managers recently surveyed said they factor in women's ages and relationship statuses in order to determine how likely they are to get pregnant in the future.
In addition, 81 per cent of the people polled admitted they would ask female job seekers about their family plans if the law permitted it.
Meanwhile, only eight per cent of respondents said they would employ whichever candidate they thought would work harder.
Lisette Howlett, managing director of HireScores.com, said: "Although employment laws clearly state an employer cannot discriminate against a pregnant woman or a single mother, managers [are] nervous about the added cost of funding maternity cover."
Recently, the Trades Union Congress advised the government against shelving plans to end workplace discrimination in the face of the recession.