A lack of respect towards women has been cited as a key challenge for the wholesale industry, according to recent research commissioned by Women in Wholesale.
The annual study looks at trend analysis over recent years to identify areas of support and although it finds the sector shaping up to be a great place to work, a lack of respect for women is still a key issue, with 28% of respondents citing a ‘lack of respect’ as the biggest challenge for women working in the sector, with no improvements since 2019, followed by lack or opportunities (20%).
Key improvements include a drop in gender discrimination in the workplace, with women who said they had experienced issues decreasing from 57% in 2019 to 36% in 2021, while support for the diversity agenda has become more important since Covid, according to 20% of respondents. 65% said it was as important as it was before.
The research by Lumina Intelligence also found that more than half of respondents (54%) agree that their company is doing enough to achieve gender balance at the top. Wellbeing support in the sector is also looking positive with 44% of respondents’ companies operating in wholesale having mental health first aiders and a third offering meditation or mindfulness seminars.
75% of respondents said they were offered more flexibility in terms of working hours during Covid and 78% had more flexibility with location – much of this will continue into the longer term, according to the research.
44% also said that career development is the main area of their job that they need support with, followed by time management (27%) and managing people (24%).
“Overall, it’s a really positive picture for careers in our sector,” said WiW founder Elit Rowland. “The majority of businesses are offering flexible and remote working, and mental health support. But the issue of respect for women and career progress cannot be ignored and will play an important role in our agenda moving forward.”