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Women still asked about caring responsibilities in job interviews, Hays finds

In the past year, 13% of women have been asked in a job interview about their plans to have children or their caring responsibilities, according to a survey by Hays.

Of these, 22% think the asking and answering of such questions impacted their chance of securing the job. A further 34% were unsure.

8% of men surveyed also report being asked such questions in a job interview during the last 12 months. Of these, 10% think it impacted their chance of securing the job with another 35% unsure.

In addition, 57% of women said there had been an occasion during their career when they felt their chance of being accepted for a job was lowered because of their gender.

The survey of over 1,000 working professionals across Australia and New Zealand was conducted as part of Hays’s 2018-19 Diversity & Inclusion Report.

In other findings, only 22% of women said their organisation actively works to develop underrepresented groups, specifically into leadership roles. Just 36% of women said their organisation gives them access to mentors.

Less than half (48%) of women say their career development conversations with their line manager are open and transparent.

And while an almost identical percentage of women and men (50% and 49% respectively) ask their manager for career advice at least once a year, fewer women (48% compared to 55% of men) say they have regular two-way conversations with their manager about their performance and career progression.

In positive news, 42% of respondents said their line manager is female, up from 39% in Hays’s 2017 diversity survey.

Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, said, “While these findings reveal some signs of progress, the overall picture tells us we need to accelerate the pace of change to achieve genuine workplace gender diversity and inclusion.

“It’s unacceptable that some hiring managers still ask people about their caring responsibilities or their plans to have children. In any job interview, the focus should be on the competencies required for the role. People should not ask, or make assumptions, about a person’s commitments outside of work based on their age or gender.

“It’s also telling that less than half of women feel they have open and transparent career development conversations with their boss. With relevant experience key to gaining a senior or executive role, women need to be able to talk through their career ambitions with their manager and be given opportunities to break through and gain the necessary experience. This could be through stretch opportunities or working with a mentor on a project, both of which give women the opportunity to gain the experience required to be considered a suitable candidate for more senior roles.”

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