Managers remain resistant to the idea of senior staff being able to work part-time, an attitude that is deterring many women from reaching their full potential in the workplace.
The study into women and part-time work by academics at Britain's Sheffield Hallam University found that nearly three million women did jobs that failed to employ them to their full potential, and were often over-qualified or had more experience then necessary.
A key reason for this was the lack of part-time jobs at more senior levels, it concluded.
Women often "demoted" themselves to lower ranking, lower paid jobs so that they had the option of working part-time.
They also resented the intensity and lack of flexibility that often went with senior level positions, the research found.
There was also a perception around part-time jobs, with managers commonly assuming that "part-time" always meant lower level, second tier jobs.
The vast majority of managers polled believed senior level positions needed to be full-time and could not be constructed on a part-time basis.
Report author Professor Sue Yeandle said: "If the UK is to continue to prosper, then the skills, talent and enthusiasm of half its population cannot continue to be under-utilised in this way."