According to a survey of 180 HR directors carried out by recruitment consultancy Robert Half, more than three-quarters (78%) of HR directors believe that men do not have an advantage over women in the workplace.

Half of those who did however think that there was an imbalance between males and females at work alleged that family commitments were responsible for this dissimilarity.

Respondents also identified a lack of promotion opportunities (42%) and the desire to maintain a good work-life balance (36%) as key factors behind the difference in men and women’s professional development.

Phil Sheridan, managing director of Robert Half UK, commented: “While it is encouraging that over three-quarters of HR directors don’t view men as having an advantageous position over women in the workplace, more needs to be done.
“Companies should regularly review their succession and remuneration plans to ensure that women are treated fairly and equally, with policies to take into account their family and personal commitments.”

The findings of the Robert Half survey are considerably more positive than those of recent research from financial products and services provider Friends Life, which found that the majority of working women see “no end” to obstacles to their advancement in the workplace.

The Friends Life survey found that more than half (55%) of women believed that there would still be a significant pay gap between men and women in 2020 and a similar proportion (53%) thought that they would still be facing more barriers than men to secure senior roles.

The recent urge for FTSE 350 firms to sign up to voluntary targets for the number of women on their boards by a September deadline from Business secretary Vince Cable and home secretary and minister for women and equalities Theresa May was an effort to increase gender diversity at the top of big companies.