More than a third of female employees in the West Midlands have faced ‘gender barriers’ in their careers – sparking calls for the ‘old boys club’ to be wiped out in the workplace.

New research by specialist recruiter Robert Half UK reveals that 37 per cent of women in the region have encountered sex discrimination in their climb up the workplace ladder.

The survey shows that females aged 18-34 are worst affected, with 42 per cent saying they have personally faced a male barrier, followed by 34 per cent of those aged between 35-54 and 26 per cent of women aged 55 and over.

The survey says: “Of those women based in the West Midlands who have experienced inequality at work, over one third (39 per cent) say they believe male colleagues at the same level earn more than they do.

“Twenty four per cent indicate they are assigned work that is below their level and are therefore unable to demonstrate their abilities, while sixteen per cent say that junior colleagues don’t take instructions from them, but will do from male colleagues of equal seniority.”

Estelle James, Director, Robert Half UK, said: “While West Midlands-based business leaders are taking steps to level the playing field between men and women in the workplace, our research shows that these inroads are not being felt by the employees themselves.

“Businesses need to eradicate the ‘old boys club’ mentality and allocate adequate resources to ensure that the glass ceiling becomes the glass elevator.”