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Women held back in the workplace by lack of confidence in skills

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The ‘Literacy and Numeracy 2014‘ survey, based on YouGov research, revealed 44 per cent of women agree with the statement “lack of confidence in my skills has led me to NOT apply for a new job or promotion before”. 

Women were also more likely to strongly agree with the statement than men.

Despite this, women were more likely to feel they had sufficient literacy and numeracy skills for their current role. In fact, 96 per cent of female respondents agreed with the statement “I feel that I have sufficient numeracy skills for my current job”, compared to 90 per cent of men. Additionally, 95 per cent of women believed they had the right level of literacy for their role – again, higher than their male counterparts.

Additional insight into the motivations and barriers of taking further qualifications revealed further differences between male and female respondents.

The top three barriers women listed for not taking further qualifications were the cost (35 per cent), feeling they were already sufficiently qualified (32 per cent), and time (29 per cent). Meanwhile, the top three motivations for taking further qualifications were to improve their level of knowledge (48 per cent), general interest in their course or subject (48 per cent), and to enhance earnings (47 per cent).

Dr Nick Smith of Oxford Open Learning Trust said: “These results demonstrate the importance of confidence in the workplace and an advantage that men have had for decades, if not centuries. But there is no room for complacency for either sex. It is vital for all of us to refresh and enhance the skills that we bring to our careers.”

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