Are women entering the employment market suffering from imposter syndrome?

Are women entering the employment market suffering from imposter syndrome?


Just so everyone’s on the same page, let’s start with a definition for Imposter Syndrome. It is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a "fraud" (thanks Wikipedia).

And, according to a survey of 5,709 graduates between 4th April and 14th May 2018, it’s something that’s affecting women upon entering the workforce. How so? Let’s look at the stats.

33% of women are worried about low pay and think they’ll earn under £20k in an entry level role, compared to less than 22% of their male counterparts. What’s more males expect to be earning more in five years’ time, with more females (25% compared to 15% males) expecting to be on £25-£30k and more males (23% compared to 17% females) expecting to be on over £35k in that timeframe.

It suggests a disparity in confidence levels between the genders. Certainly, when asked the question about which soft skills they needed to work on most to excel in their career, 41% of females reported a lack of confidence compared with 28% of males.

The women also cited competition from those with work experience as another concern, with 58% of females expressing this was an issue compared to 47% of males.

It’s these lower salary expectations and a lack of confidence, which Milkround says could be costing them their dream job and affecting their career opportunities.

Writer and activist, Natasha Devon MBE was asked to comment on the findings and she said, “Imposter syndrome is more than just ‘lacking confidence’. It’s an all-consuming belief that you aren’t worthy of your career achievements, that you’re a fraud and a fear of being ‘found out’, even if all the evidence shows you to be qualified and capable. Whilst feminism has come on in leaps and bounds over recent years, we still live in a culture where the prototype for success and influence is white, male and middle aged. It’s no wonder, then, that the people most likely to experience imposter syndrome are young women.”

Georgina Brazier, Jobs Expert at Milkround said, “Confidence issues are affecting graduates before they even hit the workforce, which often lasts with them throughout their career.  Our research shows almost half of all graduates think more self-confidence would help them with their job searches. Once employed, we find that graduates are stepping into the workforce with a preconceived idea on salary, that is connected to their self-confidence.

 “While more employers are implementing mentorship programmes to alleviate imposter syndrome and boost confidence among new starters, more needs to be done to ensure that this negative mindset is reversed, before they start working their way up the career ladder. We encourage employers to support graduates entering the workforce though mentorship programmes. This ensures the process is clear and transparent and graduates have a clear view of their career progression.”

Thursday, 1 November 2018

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