UK women are getting into work faster than any other country in the G7 yet there are still professions where not enough women are breaking through and reaching the top jobs, according to Employment Minister Esther McVey, who has just launched the business-supported #notjustforboys campaign.
The #notjustforboys campaign aims to draw attention to the fact that, despite considerable progress, in historic organisations such as the London Stock Exchange and the Royal Society of Chemistry which have recently appointed women to their top jobs, the country is still waiting for a number of significant female “firsts” in banking, broadcasting and business.
The #notjustforboys campaign wants to get more women into work across many of these industries, and has been backed by more than 30 leading businesses and individuals, including digital entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox, Lady Geek founder Belinda Parmar, Diageo, Unilever and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
Research shows that there may be approximately 12 million job opportunities opening up in the UK over the next ten years. However, despite women now choosing to work in record numbers, they are still under-represented in many of the UK’s job growth areas.
As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, Employment Minister Esther McVey wants women to be able to make the most of the record number of vacancies in the economy, saying:
“Up and down the country, women of the UK have been staging a quiet revolution – we’re in work in record numbers, with huge inroads into the top professions. “The modern face of women in work in the UK is largely unrecognisable from the choices available to our grandmothers, and as part of our long-term economic plan I want to support even more women make the most of the record vacancies UK businesses are creating.
“Who would have believed in 2015 we are still seeing ‘female firsts’ – only last year we had the first female to be President of the Royal Society of Chemistry in nearly 200 years of history. “We’ve only just had the first female CEO of the London Stock Exchange and we’re still waiting for the ‘first’ in many of the UK’s top jobs at organisations like the Bank of England, the BBC and CBI.
“Through the #notjustforboys campaign we want to energise young girls and support more women to make the choices that are right for them, and have the security of a regular wage in an industry that’s driving Britain’s growth.”
Businesses and individuals supporting the #notjustforboys campaign include:
- Emer Timmons (President of BT Global Services UK, member of the Women’s Business Council and recent winner of Woman of the Year in the Information Age Women in IT Awards)
- Kate Russell (author and technology reporter, BBC Click)
- Belinda Parmar OBE (CEO, Lady Geek)
- Baroness Lane-Fox (Chair, Go ON UK)
- Dame Fiona Kendrick (CEO and Chair of Nestlé UK and Ireland)
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Opportunity Now
- National Express
- Network Rail
- Judith Hackitt CBE FREng (Chair, HSE)
- Dr Melanie Windridge (physicist and science communicator)
- Kelly Vere (laboratory technician, University of Nottingham)
- Women’s Engineering Society
- Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering
- BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
- Go ON UK
- Health and Safety Executive
- Liberata UK
Women in the UK have made impressive gains across a range of sectors but around 80% of the growth in female employment in the last 4 years has been restricted to managerial, professional and technical professions, with women still under-represented in growth areas such as:
- engineering professionals (up 10% since 2011) – 7% working in this area are women
- broadcast media (including photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators) (up by 25% since 2011) – 20% working in this area are women
- graphic designers (up 40% since 2011) – 30% working in this area are women
- science, engineering and production technicians (up 45% since 2011) – 25% working in this area are women
#notjustforboys is designed to provide a platform for organisations to amplify their own campaigns to encourage more women to consider careers in science, engineering, sport or taking up a position on a board.
Words: Peter Cribley