The gender disparity when it comes to training male versus female staff is smaller in most Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries than the EU average, a new report from The Knowledge Academy reveals.
Lithuania was the clear outlier, being the only EU member state where female employees were more likely to be sent on job-related training by their employer than their male colleagues. The difference in opportunities for the genders was minimal in nearby Estonia, with men just 0.4% more likely to receive training.
In Slovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia and Hungary, the disparity was again lower than the EU average of 11.7%, while in Romania, Poland and Slovenia it hovered around that level.
Czechia was the only CEE country where training opportunities for women were significantly worse than the EU average, with a disparity of 17.1%. In the country, 81.9% of male employees had benefitted from training sponsored by their employer compared to just 64.8% of female employees.
Part of the socialist legacy in CEE is that women are more likely to participate in the workforce than in some Western countries, and to rise to management level, although the top ranks of business and entrepreneurship are still overwhelmingly male.
The study is based on data from Eurostat, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). It looks at the EU28 countries as well as nearby countries including Switzerland and Turkey.
Across the 32 countries surveyed, the worst performer in terms of the gender gap was Turkey, where men were 36.3% more likely to get employee sponsored training than women. Turkey was followed by Switzerland (22%), Italy (19%) and Czechia.
In addition, the survey demonstrates that women are more likely to be offered courses on equality and diversity training, while their male colleagues are more likely to receive supervisory training to help them become better leaders and managers.
Training course provider The Knowledge Academy finds that the gender gap seems connected to the difficulty faced by women in transitioning back into the workplace after bearing children, specifically that women are significantly more likely than men to work part-time, especially after becoming mothers.
“The differences we have found between training provision for men and women reflect wider issues within the workplace when it comes to gender inequality,” commented Dr Fiona Aldridge, assistant director for development and research at NIACE.
“Advancements in flexible working have helped to ensure that there are now a record number of women in work, but this flexibility is often accompanied by a hidden pay penalty: the hourly pay difference between full-time and part-time workers is currently 25%. Women are also much more likely than men to be found in low paid sectors such as retail, hospitality and social care.”