Edited by Ayala Malach-Pines and Mustafa F. Özbilgin
Chapter 14: Career Aspirations and Progression in UK Science: Perceptions and Reality
Sara Connolly and Susan Long Introduction The UK workforce is gradually becoming more feminised (women now account for the majority of employees and just under half of the overall workforce), there are more mothers working than at any time in the postwar period and the proportion of graduates, particularly female graduates, in the workforce has been rising. The nature of employment has also changed – there has been a shift towards employment in service and hightechnology industries where progress and competitiveness is dependent upon having a highly skilled workforce. As argued by Connolly and Fuchs (2009), the changing demographics of the workforce and growing demand for skilled workers have contributed to the rise of work–life balance policies and practices which are seen by employers as key in attracting and retaining talent (Greenblatt, 2002; Drew and Murtagh, 2005; Lewis and Campbell, 2008). Similarly, for employees flexibility regarding work–life arrangements is now an important criterion in the search for jobs, job satisfaction and work commitment (Lyness and Judiesch, 2008). Yet, despite these improvements in the position and employment conditions of women in the labour market, women still face a glass ceiling. Whether we measure this in terms of salary or position we find that gender gaps in terms of pay and grade persist. Although average gender pay gaps in the UK are at their lowest levels since equal pay legisation was introduced in the 1970s, they remain high for women working in the professions – for example, women working in the law...
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