Number of the Day: women’s work preferences

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, many employers continue to focus on rectifying what is a historic setback for women in the workforce. While the Great Resignation is a relatively new development, women had already begun exiting the workforce en masse early in the pandemic, owing to factors like increased caregiving responsibilities. Now, as organizations look to rebound from the crises of the last two years and turn their attention to re-engaging women who’ve left the workforce, they’ll need to do so with an understanding of how their needs have changed.

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According to new research based on a survey of more than 2,000 employed and unemployed men and women from Indeed and career platform Luminary, women are prioritizing roles that allow them to integrate work and life in a healthy way. About 70% of women report being satisfied in their current or most recent role, and flexibility appears to be a significant contributor. Nearly 60% of women surveyed said the location of a worksite/an easy commute to work was a major factor in their satisfaction at work, along with their ability to choose when and from where work gets done (53%). In the same vein, work/life balance was selected by 80% of respondents as either a major or minor source of satisfaction.

Importantly, more than half of women surveyed are considering a career transition in the near future.

What it means for HR leaders

The research is among a growing pool that points to the need for flexibility to attract top talent, particularly women, in today’s market. A report out this week from employee experience platform Medallia found that about 58% of currently employed men surveyed preferred to work entirely in the office, compared to 42% of women—a finding that doesn’t include women who have already left the workforce. The organization also found that flexibility was among the top factors driving job selection.

See also: 2 keys to stopping the Great Resignation? Flexibility and trust

Abbey Carlton, global head of social impact at Indeed, says the pandemic spotlighted long-simmering problems like the gender pay gap and a lack of flexibility—which has now put women “in a position where they can renegotiate the terms of work.”

“The survey shows women are thinking about their next steps and what they need in the workplace,” Carlton says, noting that, in addition to flexibility, compensation and growth opportunities were also top drivers for women surveyed. “These are factors employers are going to have to keep in mind as they think about attracting top female talent in this tight labor market.”

Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.

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