Tracey Eker speaks out on ongoing workplace discrimination
This week it was revealed that female bosses earn an average of 35% less than male colleagues at the same level. More than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, it is clear prejudice persists in the UK workplace, and the extent of it is shocking.
CEO and founder Tracey Eker was asked to appear on STV Glasgow’s primetime news slot, in which she discussed the issue of women being squeezed out of their existing roles after returning from maternity leave, or excluded from high earning positions. She recalls the discrimination she faced after having her first child:
‘During my maternity leave with my first child I experienced some of the negativity women are faced with from employers.
This really dampened my time off and soured my whole entry back into the workforce. I was made to travel excessively as if to prove a point that I couldn’t do it all like I used to. That relationship quickly came to a close and I decided to stay home with my baby’
Tracey then began looking for part-time work, but was disappointed to discover a distinct lack of transparency if job advertisements, with many employers seemingly unwilling to be upfront about the availability of flexible working in their organisations. A ‘lightbulb moment’ ensued, and Tracey got the idea to start her own online job site, designed specifically as a platform to connect skilled candidates who need or desire flexible working with the employers who need their skills:
‘Having children really showed me the lack of provision of flexible working within the workplace and highlighted the need for employers to be more upfront about the types of workplace flexibility they could/have on offer. So in a way, my children are responsible for me coming up with Flexiworkforce in the first place!’
The idea of transparency in job advertisements surrounding the availability of flex-time, homeworking and other modes of flexibility is paramount to women finally being able to break through the glass ceiling and break down the barrier of ‘presenteeism’. It is clear that though employers preach diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities, these ideas are less easy for organisations to actually put into practice.
The message is clear- only when employers make flexible working accessible will women’s participation be truly representative, and their earnings equal to that of men.