Belfast Telegraph

Alan won't Sugar-coat childcare issue for women in boardroom

By Margaret Canning

Lord Sugar has said laws preventing a potential employer enquiring about a female interviewee's childcare arrangements are "counter-productive".

The Amstrad founder, whose annual hunt for an apprentice is televised on BBC1, said women should be "bold and upfront" and declare their status regarding children - "and then focus on the most important thing: to explain what skills they can bring to the company and why they should be employed".

Without women talking clearly about their childcare or any intention to have children, interviews had become a "psychological charade".

The Labour peer was speaking in the House of Lords on Lord Davies' report on representation of women in boardrooms.

He told peers that expressing his views on the interview process could create "a bit of sensitivity".

"It tends to spark off a knee-jerk reaction amongst certain women who don't seem to hear - or want to hear - what I'm saying."

He added: "I for one would be very impressed with a person who settled this matter at the outset, telling me how they're going to organise their life in order to do their job; how important the job is to them and what they're going to bring to the party.

"Such people would jump up in my estimation."

Lord Sugar said he had had the "good fortune" to employ a number of women in senior roles.

"I have to say that I've found women in business to be very focused, determined and ambitious.

"Indeed in top management positions, they seem to place no importance on ego building, but simply get on with the job in a very efficient manner."