40% of Irish women think employers prefer men

As the Irish Congress of Trade Unions calls for new measures to tackle the gender pay gap

40% of Irish women think employers prefer men

Picture by Daniel Leal-Olivas PA Wire/PA Images

Two in five Irish women believe that their employers are biased in favour of recruiting men, according to a new gender diversity report from PwC.

In a global survey of 5,000 professionals in 70 countries, Irish women were among the most likely to feel that they were not dealing with a level playing field – tied at 40% with Brazil and the US, and just behind Switzerland at 46%. The global average was 30%.

Some 13% of Irish women also said that they felt they had personally experienced gender discrimination when applying or being interviewed for a job. This rose to just over one-fifth of women worldwide.


The report states:

"The good news is that 80% of employers said they’ve aligned their diversity and recruitment strategies. This is vital, as diversity efforts operated in a silo will not achieve diversity goals. Furthermore, of the employers who said they’ve adopted diversity practices, 71% said these were having an impact on their recruitment efforts." 


Aoife Flood, author of the report and a senior manager with PwC in Dublin, gave this overview of the findings:


The findings arrive with the issue of a gender pay gap still in the spotlight.

To tie in with International Women's Day, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions called this morning for a series of new measures to tackle the problem.

This includes making gender pay gap reporting compulsory for large employers, or boosting salaries for low-paid workers.

Gemma Arterton (centre) with Dagenham women strikers and the cast of the musical Made in Dagenham outside Britain's Houses of Parliament. Picture by Yui Mok PA Archive/PA Images

Congress equality officer David Joyce has said that there has been little progress since 2010:

"We have a persistent gender pay gap, the latest figure is 13.9%. The EU average is 16.3%. neither figure shows much sign of shifting. And I suppose what we're saying is that if we continue to do what we've always been ding, it won't change. So what we're looking for is a much more imaginative approach to dealing with the issue."

He has recommended pay increases, "particularly in sectors characterised by low pay, which women tend to be the majority of the workforce".

"So cleaners, catering staff and caring staff. An increase of pay in those sectors would actually help to narrow the gender pay gap but also boost the economy by giving working women more money to spend."

When it comes to individual companies, Microsoft has taken the initiative with a special event in Sandyford today, encouraging people to work towards an inclusive, gender equal world.


Joanne Morrissey, HR director at Microsoft Ireland, said:

"Diversity is a business imperative for us at Microsoft. When people of different backgrounds and with different perspectives work together, we see the benefits in the quality of the results achieved.

"We carry out a wide variety of programmes to promote diversity and inclusion, including Codess, Inspiring Careers and Women at Microsoft. We are also founder members of Connecting Women in Technology and support GirlCrew Pro – a series of events that see incredible women sharing the ups as well as the downs of their career paths and the winding roads it often took to get to where they are today.”

“International Women’s Day allows us to shine a light on the importance of fostering gender diversity within the workplace. At Microsoft, we are proud to be an industry leader when it comes to flexible working. Our people are empowered to work from home or on the go and at the times that suits them. We recently announced 600 new jobs – 500 at our new Inside Sales Centre in Dublin and 100 across our existing operations and recruitment is now underway. It’s an exciting time to work in Microsoft with our plans to move to our new purpose built campus in Leopardstown before the end of the year."