New research from Women in Business Expo has found a lack of flexibility and issues with childcare are some of the biggest challenges women in the UK face in their careers. The research, which surveyed working women throughout the UK, found that 42% of women know someone who has had to give up work due to a lack of flexible working options.

In fact, 40% of British women say the lack of flexible working options available has been the biggest challenge they have faced in their own career, whilst 39% have struggled to find a role with the right level of flexibility required.

Failures in flexibility can have a far reaching impact on the work/life balance of many women. For 67% of British women having a work/life balance is more important to them than salary, but 39% are still frustrated that they have had to sacrifice their salary and career progression so that they can ensure they have the right work/life balance in bringing up a family.

Worryingly, juggling family and work commitments is still a big issue for working women in the UK. Just under half (48%) of women know someone who has had to give up work due to the cost of childcare and 19% have either denied or not mentioned to potential employers that they have or are planning to have children. In addition, 20% of women surveyed stated they would have to take parental leave even though they earn more than their partner.

Given this response, it’s unsurprising that when asked what initiatives would have the most positive impact on workplace gender equality, 38% called for greater support for paternity leave in the workplace, with 34% stating that greater support needed to come from the government for this. However it didn’t quite make the top spot in improvement initiatives, as over half of women (55%) stated the creation of more flexible roles would have one of the most positive impacts, and 42% noted the simple ability to have more open conversation regarding flexibility within roles.

Christie Day, Group Event Director for Women in Business Expo commented:

“There’s been huge strides in workplace gender equality in the last couple of decades, but this research has shown there is still a long way to go before we achieve total gender parity. A quarter of women (25%) still have issues with a gender pay gap in their workplace, and 16% still experience everyday sexism. This is simply not good enough. Businesses leaders need to start taking greater responsibility for ensuring equality in the workplace beyond what is mandated by the government. Offering flexible working, for example, would not only benefit female employees with children but is something everyone would value.”

Launched by Hub Exhibitions, Women in Business Expo is a new free to attend event designed to provide an environment where women can learn, network and share experiences. The event will take place 16-17 October 2019 at Farnborough International Conference and Exhibition Centre, Hampshire. It will provide attendees with a range of fascinating talks and access to leading companies, which will provide business, franchise and career opportunities along with support for future career moves.

This year’s event, sponsored by Vodafone, Avast, Pure Storage, HSBC, IBM, Sky and Red Hat, will include a focus on Women in Tech, Women in Franchise and Women in Finance.

For more information about Women in Business Expo, please visit or follow on Twitter @wibexpouk

The research was conducted by 3GEM on behalf of Women in Business Expo. It surveyed 2000 women in employment across the UK to find out about the challenges they face in the workplace.



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