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Young women facing career confidence crisis, with 23% of those currently without a mentor seeking one for advice and skills development

New research from Monster.co.uk, in conjunction with YouGov, has revealed a career confidence crisis amongst young female workers, with a staggering 71% saying they lack the confidence to ask for a pay rise in the workplace.

The findings come amidst growing concerns around gender inequality in the workplace, with 61% of women believing they need to work harder than their male counterparts to get a promotion or the recognition they deserve. Seventy one per cent of young women don’t feel confident enough to ask for a pay rise, compared to 61% of their male counterparts.

The research indicates employers tend to overestimate the confidence of women at work with three quarters (71%) thinking that they’d have the confidence to go for a promotion. In reality, less than half (47%) agree that they have the confidence to do so.

Building confidence in tech skills
The findings highlight that men have greater IT self-confidence than women – 43% of women only describe their computing skills as ‘good enough’ compared to 35% of men. Yet female workers place greater importance on social media skills (22% compared to 15%). However, nearly a third (31%) of young female employees are interested in enhancing their career options through coding.

Only 26% of employees think that men and women are equally represented in technology and digital jobs while 44% think that there are more men than women in these positions. Thirty two percent say that they want to see more encouragement for women to study STEM subjects, and 12% wanting to see mentoring programmes for women. In fact, 23% of young women who currently do not have a workplace mentor to help guide them with their career said that they would like one.

In response to these issues, Monster.co.uk has partnered with Stemettes, a social enterprise that helps connect young women with female professionals working in STEM careers. It is currently running a series of Monster Confidence events across the UK to inspire and build confidence amongst 15 to 22 year olds who want to explore career options in science, tech, engineering and maths.

The events will take place over the next two months in Glasgow, Belfast, Birmingham and Cardiff, starting in Glasgow on last week on 8th September.

Each day will be split into two parts, a morning session for 15 to 18 year olds and an afternoon sessions for 18+ year olds, university and college students. If you’re interested in attending, or would like to volunteer to help inspire those who attend, please find more details here.

The study indicates that whilst 46% of Brits currently in employment experienced either used or were taught to use some form of tech at school but just 15% went on to take an IT course at college or university. The European commission has indicated that between now and 2020, the UK will have the largest digital skills shortfall in the EU . In line with this, 17% of employees surveyed would advise young people to study technology before starting on working life.

Mind the gap: Brits lag behind their confident European peers
The research indicates that there is a difference in the relative levels of confidence regarding how employees operate in the office in the UK compared to the in the other countries surveyed. Across the UK, France, Germany and Netherlands, employees lack confidence when it comes to asking for a pay rise (52%) or pushing for a promotion (41%), with UK workers the least likely across Europe to ask - only a third (30%) stating they would be confident enough to ask for more money. More positively, well over two thirds of workers from those European countries are more than happy to speak up in meetings (72%) and push a new idea forwards (71%).

The research also shows that those in the UK are less confident in finding the right or a better job than others in their own age group compared to their counterparts in France, Germany and the Netherlands. In the UK, 17% said that less confident than others in their age group compared to 11% in France and Germany and 12% in the Netherlands. This level of confidence also decreases by age. In all the countries surveyed, younger employees are twice as likely to say they are not confident in their skills helping them find a better job than others in their age groups (16%) compared to the older Baby Boomers group (9%).

Younger workers also lack confidence in how they operate in the office. Generation X are most confident when asking for a pay rise or promotion (44%), whereas Baby Boomers are most confident in speaking up (76%) and pushing new ideas (75%). Less than half (49%) of Millennials say that they feel confident in asking for a promotion and just 38 per cent are confident about asking for a pay rise.

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