Project: Perceived career aspirations of genders in the Civil Service: To assess whether the health and safety professional is male dominated

Completed but not published

This project was submitted on 03/07/2014

Equal opportunity initiatives, issues and legislation progressed simultaneously with health and safety (H&S) legislation which facilitated equitable representation of women in the H&S profession. However, there is no research to assess gender equality in this profession. Therefore, this provides an opportunity to assess its existence and examine whether women H&S professionals encounter barriers that can hinder their progression into senior management roles. Research literature from other male-dominated professions identified as construction and science, engineering and technology provided a background. This research suggested that women working in these areas encountered barriers in their career aspirations

This study was explanatory in design for research which incorporated a mixed method approach of quantitative (questionnaires) and qualitative (interviews/focus group) data collection and analysis to test/assess the relevant hypotheses. Judgemental sampling was used to target one hundred and eighty (n=180) Civil Service H&S Advisers. The questionnaire yielded a total valid response rate of 59% (n=107). Twelve (n=12) participants had semi-structured interviews and there was one semi-structured focus group with nine (n=9) participants.

This study found that the percentage of male to female H&S professional in the Civil Service is higher but more women are joining; there are more men in senior positions; women are deterred from joining the profession, for example due to the older male H&S workforce and organisational changes. Key barriers identified for women to progress into senior management roles were inflexible working practices and exclusion from networking due to over representation of males. It was recommended that improving the overall status of the H&S profession would in turn assist in the better management of Civil Service Equality Strategy and Public Service objective on gender equality. Additionally, an enhanced understanding of the H&S profession in the Civil Service by senior management would make a difference.

Masters
Training and education
Local Authorities, Public Sector

Organisation: University of Portsmouth

University
Eldon Building,
Winston Churchill Avenue, Burnaby Road,
Portsmouth,
PO1 2DJ,
UK
www.port.ac.uk
023 9284 8484

Principal Investigator: Nisa Carey

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