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WORKSPAN
WORKSPAN DAILY |

What Women Want from Work

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By and large, most employees want the same things out of their jobs — competitive compensation, good benefits, a sense of work-life balance, feelings of professional fulfillment.

Findings from a recent Gallup poll suggest that both men and women value these (and other) attributes in a company when they’re seeking a job, but women place more importance on these qualities in a would-be employer. 

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The Washington, D.C.-based analytics and advisory company recently asked 13,000 U.S.-based male and female workers about 16 factors that are most meaningful to them when seeking a new job. Four of the top five most important qualities are present on both lists. For example, 66% of women said they consider greater work-life balance and better well-being to be a very important factor when assessing a would-be employer, with 56% of men saying the same. 

Meanwhile, 65% of women seek increased income and improved benefits, with 63% of men desiring increased compensation and more robust benefits. Another 62% of women want a job that allows them “to do what [they] do best,” compared to 53% of men who reported feeling the same way. 

“The most significant difference between what men and women deem important when considering a potential job change is how much women value an organization’s diversity and inclusivity,” wrote Kristin Barry, director of hiring analytics at Gallup. 

Indeed, the survey found 52% of female respondents saying that diversity and inclusion is a very important consideration in their decision whether to take a job, versus around one in three male participants indicating as much.  

“Organizations that prioritize DEI and communicate their values accordingly,” said Barry, “are going to win the competition for female talent.” 

Overall, the findings that women emphasize certain factors more in their job search come down largely to work-life balance, said Kathleen Duffy, president and CEO of the Phoenix-based recruitment firm the Duffy Group Inc. 

“At the start of the pandemic in 2020, women were leaving the workforce out of necessity, as child-care facilities closed and their children transitioned to remote learning. Even with children returning to school and daycare, some women still feel a bit of instability,” she said. “We are also seeing firsthand that some women with teenage children and who work in senior-level positions need a mental health break.” 

(Research does suggest that women’s mental well-being has suffered more throughout the coronavirus pandemic.) 

Employers must realize that women are still the primary caregivers in many families, Duffy added. 

“As such, they must give more thought to the work environment and schedule to help them strike a balance between delivering a top-notch performance on the job and at home.” 

Of course, compensation still counts.

“Salary must also be considered,” Duffy said. “Women should be compensated for the value they bring to their positions. Instead of starting them at the bottom of the salary range, employers should make them an offer at the top of the pay scale.” 

Wolf Gugler, president of Wolf Gugler Executive Search, isn’t surprised that Gallup’s survey found women prioritizing work-life balance. 

“In many relationships, the female is often the ‘household quarterback,’ having to juggle and balance child care, schooling, the family social calendar and medical appointments for the family, while keeping their head above water at work,” he said. “As women are often placed in this situation, they want to make the most of their career time and investment, which would explain why [this survey finds] females more concerned about fit than males are.”

Gugler also stresses the importance of offering a mentorship program that allows female employees to focus on their strengths. 

“I’ve never met a candidate who told me they had a business mentor and didn’t benefit from their guidance,” he said. “And if your company isn’t using stay interviews, implement them. Sit down with [female and male employees], ask what it is that the company can do to help them succeed and then develop a plan in conjunction with them to make that happen.” 

About the Author

Mark-McGraw (1).jpg Mark McGraw is the managing editor of Workspan. 


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