Three-quarters of women lack confidence in the workplace


Training and networking can help to improve women's self-confidence

A worrying 75% of women say they lack confidence at work, according to research by My Confidence Matters and the University of Glasgow.

The survey of 301 employed women showed they lacked confidence regardless of their sector. Of the women who had taken a career break, 62% felt less confident on their return to work.

The main situations where women felt nervous were ‘asking for a pay rise or putting prices up’ (43%) and ‘standing in front of an audience to make a presentation or speech’ (40%). ‘Networking’ (34%), ‘being intimidated by my boss or other colleagues’ (27%), ‘competing with work colleagues’ (20%) and ‘chairing a meeting’ (19%) were other areas cited.

Geraldine Perriam, honorary research associate at the University of Glasgow, said: “It is not, and should not be, a given that women experience low levels of confidence due to their gender. Masculinist ‘norms’ that are weighted towards specific, established types of organisational structure and demands on employees have been demonstrated to undermine women’s self-confidence.”

The research also showed, however, that 57% of women would find being part of a community of like-minded women a boost to their confidence.

“One of the important ‘take home’ messages of the data gathered in this survey is that the women surveyed are motivated to improve self-confidence through training and networking. Building a community and skills development are priorities for the respondents. It is to be hoped that opting into these two pathways will lead to a more confident and collegial workforce of women in the future,” Perriam added.

The research was conducted to mark the launch of My Confidence Matters, a new service to help women become more confident and overcome some of the barriers they face at work.

My Confidence Matters conducted an online survey with 301 respondents from a cross-section of sectors and company sizes; 30% were from companies with more than 1,000 employees.

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