Ernst & Young has just published a new survey about the concerns of working women in the United Kingdom. Rather than facing a single barrier in the workplace, the survey concluded that women faced at least four identifiable barriers – age; a lack of female role models; the effects of motherhood; and qualifications and experience.

Ernst & Young concluded that it is up to employers to help support women at each stage of their careers because they are losing valuable and talented employees at the early parts of their careers.

Surprisingly, more women reported that their age is more of a barrier than gender, i.e, they are seen as being too young or too old. Even more surprising is that younger women (between 18 and 23) reported the most difficulty at work based upon their age.

We have noted or reported before in the context of discrimination based upon appearance or sexual orientation, that employers who fail to recognize the value to them of skilled employees but instead focus on irrelevancies such as, for example, obesity, are bound to fall behind in the crucible of competition. Indeed, even employers in states such as Utah are dropping their resistance to hiring gay or lesbian employees, not wanting to be seen as being opposed to a “national trend,” and not wanting to fall behind in hiring talented workers.

Employers should consider this new survey and pay heed.