8 min read
As we approach International Women's Day, we've pulled together a review of Gallup's 2016 study on gender-diversity in the workplace.
If you haven’t read Gallup’s report Women in America: Work and Life Well-Lived, you're missing out on critical information. Regardless of where you stand on the corporate ladder or the gender scale, I recommend the read. The 94-pages are bursting with relevant content on engaging and retaining women at work.
Note, it isn't just for girls:
“All workers want a job that allows them to do what they do best and that provides greater flexibility and stability. In certain cases, women place more value on these attributes, but we did not intend for this report to be about men versus women.”
If you don’t have time for the full-read right now, here are some of the salient points.
First, if you think gender-diversity in the workplace is irrelevant, think again. Gallup’s study proves that diversity is actually key to successful and robust teams. If your company isn’t diverse, you’re missing out.
Trust me (and Gallup): you want women in your workplace. If you have to ask yourself why, here are some of the survey’s findings:
Those are just some of the reasons that women at work rock. (Of course, there are men at work who also rock, but let's stay focused!)
Wait! Before you go on a hiring binge, remember this isn’t just about hiring “the right numbers to improve diversity.” If a prospective employee doesn’t have the right skillset, don’t hire them simply because you need diversity. A company should support high performers, hire and develop individuals based on their attributes and strengths, and have a rich mission-based culture.
Plus, even if you did want to binge hire women, who's to say they would want to work for you? If you want to attract and retain trail-blazing female employees, you’ve got to make sure your company has what they want. The women that are entering the workforce are the most educated generation of women in history. If what you're offering doesn't fit their needs, they can go elsewhere to find it.
Women place the highest importance on these three factors when looking for a new job:
Does it give me the ability to do what I do best?
66% of female employees believe it's “very important” to find a job that allows them to do what they do best. In comparison, just 55% of men ranked this as “very important”.
People who get to use their skills and knowledge each day are more likely to be satisfied and thrive at work. Employers should ensure their staff are well-matched to roles and tasks so they have a positive sense of purpose at work.
Does it give a greater work-life balance and better personal well-being?
60% of women rate this as “very important”, whereas only 48% of men say the same. This is crucial. It's the biggest discrepancy in what women and men look for in a new role.
Work-life balance and well-being is different from one woman to the next. For working mothers or women planning on having children, a lack of flexible work arrangements is a big deterrent. But, it’s not all about motherhood. “Many women have a holistic view of life and work and look for employers that do too. They are drawn to companies that encourage, support and empower them as people - not companies that see them as just workers.”
Does it have better stability and job security?
This is almost as popular with men as it is with women. 52% of women and 50% of men rank it as “very important”.
Women need to know their jobs are safe because their money truly matters in the home. Especially when you consider that single mothers are the heads of 80% of the 12 million single-parent families in America. Their well-being, and the well-being of their families, depend on their pay cheque.
“The challenge for leaders and managers is to understand what it takes to create and sustain gender-diversity. The answer comes down to attraction, engagement and performance management strategies, and within these strategies is the vital element of culture. It’s one thing for business to tout a modern or “family-friendly” work culture. It’s another thing to actually live it."
So, take a good look at your company culture. Does it need to be freshened up? (A real freshen-up: not a surface level tidy, but a proper up-to-the-elbow deep clean.)
Consider what we’ve learned: women want to be able to do their best, in a safe and stable job, that permits them a balanced well-lived life. Does your company and culture enable this?
If not, consider Gallup’s 10 tips to effect this positive and productive change:
So, there you have it - some quick-fire key points from Gallup's study of women in the workplace! After reading this article, hopefully the importance of gender-diversity in a successful organization is clearer than ever. Achieving it can be tricky - you may need to have some hard, honest conversations about your company culture. But, if it results in more spectacular female employees in your organization, how can you afford not to?
Please note - all quotes in this article are from Gallup's report, unless stated otherwise.