Loss of female staff costing the economy millions

The loss of highly-trained women from the workplace is costing the economy millions of pounds, MSPs have been warned.

A report commissioned to estimate the cost of lost talent states that a doubling of women’s high-level skill contribution to the economy would be worth as much as £170 million each year, Holyrood’s equal opportunities Committee was told yesterday.

Research by the Royal Society of Edinburgh shows women are “lost at every stage” across many sectors due to a variety of barriers.

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Commenting on the findings, Dr Caroline Wallace, senior science policy adviser at the Society of Biology, said: “In our struggling economy, £170m might not seem a lot when we are used to talking in billions of pounds, but I think that’s incredibly significant.

“That can be women who are not able to return to work because there is a lack of support there, or they’re working part-time.

“I can tell you now that it is at least £170m, and that doesn’t take into account people working at a lower level than their skillset.”

Dr Wallace was among a number of witnesses giving evidence in the committee’s women and work inquiry.