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Lack of flexible working 'holding UK professional women back'

Lack of flexible working 'holding UK professional women back'

The failure of British companies to provide staff with flexible working options is having a negative effect on women's employment prospects, according to a new report.

Data from the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Women in Work index revealed that the UK was ranked in 18th position out of 27 OECD countries in 2011 in terms of female economic empowerment.

Since the start of the recession, women in the UK have become less likely to be in employment and experience lower job security and greater pay inequality than their counterparts in other developed nations.

According to the report, this is in large part due to the failure of British businesses to make their operations more female-friendly, with few offering flexible working options that would help to prevent women with childcare responsibilities from being marginalised.

Gaenor Bagley, head of people and executive board member at PwC, said: "The current workplace model is broken and does not provide enough flexibility. Without fundamental changes it is hard to see how any real progress can be made."

This comes after a recent survey by O2 revealed that although 77 per cent of organisations believe they actively encourage flexibility within their workplace, only 19 per cent of employees agree with this outlook.

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Posted by Chris Stevenson