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New research from the Chartered Accountants' Benevolent Association (CABA) has found that 21% of employees fear that they are not taken seriously at work due to their age, a figure which rises to 25% for women. The research also found that 16% of women felt held back due to their gender, and that 35% of employees were too scared to ring in sick for fear of how it would reflect on them. Additionally, 42% of HR directors surveyed said that they prioritised outputs over employee wellbeing.
Denise Keating, chief executive at the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) commented:
“Those at the beginning and towards the end of their careers were most likely to fear not being taken seriously due to their age. Not listening to these groups is dangerous for employers as both of these groups have valuable insights to offer their organisations because of, not despite, being at different ends of the traditional working age spectrum.
“The CABA data highlights the extent to which employees worry about how they are perceived, not only due to their age or gender but also due to their general appearance, calling in sick and even talking to their colleagues. Obviously this is not a healthy working environment, and all HR practitioners should look again at their workplaces and challenge poor line managers; this sort of culture is clearly not as uncommon as one should hope.
“Unfortunately young women are most likely to feel this way, and their confidence and careers are being damaged by bosses who prize how one should work and how one should look at work above considerations of the actual work being done. Young women are particularly challenged by this attitude being at the start of their careers. The definition of smart business dress in the workplace is far easier for men, who simply wear an ensemble of trousers, shoes and shirts plus extras, than women, whose outfits must meet a much longer list of criteria in order to fit into the social hierarchy. A young man in an expensive suit is likely to be admired, whilst a young woman doing the same is perceived to be showing off. Employers really must ask themselves whether their dress codes are truly necessary.”