Women in utilities say unconscious bias makes career progression harder

Almost a third of women in the utility industry are considering leaving the sector in the next one to three years, according to new research by the Women’s Utilities Network (WUN) and The Marketing Pod – at a time when the industry needs to retain and recruit staff to deliver a new energy industry.
The research, which was based on responses from 375 industry members, 358 of whom were female, found that half of women industry members believed they had been treated differently at work vocalise of their gender. Being ignored or interrupted in meetings was the experience of 41% and 49% thought their opinion was valued as much as male counterparts. As a result, 46% of respondents said they held back on sharing opinions or ideas.
The report found that women felt they were held back by unconscious bias, with 39% saying colleagues assumed they knew less than they did, or explained unnecessarily. A third were asked to carry out tasks that they were overqualified for.
The report, which included direct experiences of industry members, suggested that the unconscious bias contributed to women’s lack of access to senior roles and affected salary negotiations. It recommended more training on the topic, advocacy to support women and hiring processes that would limit unconscious bias.
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