Almost Half Of Owners/ Managers Of UK Businesses Say Women Are Unfairly Represented In The Boardroom

Women still not encouraged to be entrepreneurial

Newcastle, (PresseBox) - Almost half (48 per cent) of owners/ managers surveyed believe women are still unfairly represented in UK boardrooms, with more women (62 per cent), than men (39 per cent) commenting that this was the case. This is according to Sage's latest Heartbeat survey conducted amongst its customers, which also revealed that less than one fifth of respondents (18 per cent) feel that the current business environment in the UK encourages women to start their own business.

Conducted by YouGov Plc, the Heartbeat survey looks at some of the dominant issues facing owners/ managers of UK businesses, and investigates the views of more than 2,000 senior business professionals. This year the survey canvassed opinions across three areas: support for small businesses, attitudes towards the environment and the status of women in business.

The research showed that in order to progress up to the boardroom women are looking for specific backing from the government. Interestingly, when respondents were asked about the top three areas where they would like to receive greater support from the government, fewer women (31 per cent) than men (37 per cent) cited flexible working regulations. Despite this, more women (16%) than men (10%) said that they set up their own business to achieve a better work-life balance.

In addition to more government support, less regulation and reduced red tape were important issues for women. The Heartbeat survey found that more women than men believe there is too much red tape involved in setting up a business. 53 per cent of women cited this as the reason why they would not set up a company again, compared to 41 per cent of men.

Anne Stringer, Managing Director of dating website RSVP, based in Northampton, commented, "In my last job I was the only woman on our corporate board and there was no real encouragement to progress. Yes, there is a glass ceiling for women, which still exists to some extent, but if you're good at your job I believe you can push through that. I think it's great that we encourage people to be flexible and help them come back to work after children, but the expectations can often be unrealistic. There's no carrot, it's all stick."

Jo Ray Managing Director of Sage's small business division comments, "With almost half of our owners/ managers believing that women are not represented fairly in UK boardrooms, there is still a strong conviction that the barriers preventing women progressing in business still exist, and they are under-represented at the highest level. This must be addressed, of course, but the results of this survey also indicate the need to identify and ensure that the right kind of support and encouragement is available to women who would like to set up their own companies."

Alongside priorities of cutting down red tape and receiving more support, the survey also showed that 51 per cent of women and 48 per cent of men surveyed would like cheaper internet and telecoms facilities to help in supporting their business goals, while 49 per cent of men and 53 per cent of women want better rates on bank loans.

Women are also more likely to have the environment on their list of priorities with 86 per cent of women survyed saying that it was important to the running of their business, compared to 74 per cent of men.

Sage Heartbeat Survey

The Sage Business Heartbeat Survey is based on responses from 2,017 senior business professionals of UK businesses including owners, CEOs, managing directors, chairmen, founders and general managers from the Sage customer database of over 750,000. The Sage Business Heartbeat Survey is a regular study conducted on different aspects of small businesses investigating the views of UK business owners and heads of business.

For further information, please visit www.sagepresscentre.co.uk/heartbeat

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,017 Sage customers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th - 30th October 2007. The survey was carried out online. The data is not weighted.

The Sage Group plc

Sage (UK) Limited is a subsidiary of The Sage Group plc, a leading international supplier of business management software. Formed in 1981, the Group was floated on the stock exchange in 1989 and now employs over 13,000 people worldwide in its market leading companies throughout Europe and the USA. Further press information is available at http://www.sagepresscentre.co.uk or at http://www.sage.co.uk

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