Key Insights & Advice from Our Study of Women at Work

CLAIRE HASTWELL

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Men aren’t necessarily failing women at work – company culture is.

Unfortunately, women’s workplace experience continues to lag behind that of men’s. To understand why, and how we can rewrite this narrative, we need to look at the data.

Men are twice as likely to perceive the workplace as fair and equal

When it comes to fair treatment, our data revealed that men were almost twice as likely to believe people are treated fairly regardless of gender compared to women.

Even at Best Workplaces for Women™, there are fewer women than men who believe that people are paid fairly for the work they do.

Women, less often than men, believe management “avoid playing favorites” and give promotions “to those who best deserve them.”

Women also reported they have fewer opportunities for special recognition compared to what men reported.

How are you currently measuring your employees’ performance for promotions?  Because of ingrained cultural stereotypes, men and women doing the same things are often perceived and evaluated differently.

As sociologist and Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University Marianne Cooper points out: “It often plays out in performance evaluations where women are lauded for their accomplishments, but then passed over for promotion because they have ‘sharp elbows’ or ‘are too aggressive.’”

How you can take action

Strategic Advisor at Great Place to Work, Matt Bush recommends that companies should have clear criteria for evaluation so that both men and women are judged for their performance in the same way.

“When leadership promotes someone, they should be able to point to the criteria they had previously set for their rationale. Promoting for reasons inconsistent with the set criteria is a quick way to lose credibility and trust while fueling perceptions of favoritism.”

As for equal opportunities for special recognition, Lorena Martinez, Emprising™ Implementation Consultant at Great Place to Work says, “it’s all about breaking free from what we have learned traditional organizations to be.”

Everyone should have exposure to senior leadership, not just those in executive positions.

“From recurring 1:1 skip-level meetings to breakfasts with the CEO, employees should be given opportunities to build a relationship with senior leadership from all departments.”

Far more women than men are paid hourly

In our study, we found that 59% of women are paid hourly compared to 33% of men. This could contribute to fewer women than men saying they feel a strong “sense of belonging” at their workplace – another finding from the study.

According to Career Builder, “hourly employees are often able to achieve better work-life balance than salaried employees. They don’t typically take work home with them because they won’t be paid once they leave their job site.”

But this work-life balance comes at a cost. When a woman takes on hourly work, it’s not only the healthcare and 401K benefits she misses out on. She misses out on promotions, projects and career-propelling networking opportunities.

That’s because most of the time all of these things require an employee to be working long hours inside the workplace.

Harvard economist Claudia Goldin has studied the gender pay gap for most of her career. She explains the high cost of flexible hourly working arrangements that women tend to accept.

Claudia says women “may work in fact the same number of hours [as men], but they may work hours that are their hours rather than the hours imposed on them by the firm.”

The woman will then begin to make … considerably less than the man.  And a lot of what we see … is this choice to go into occupations that have less expensive temporal flexibility, that allow individuals to do their work on their own time.”

How you can take action

To overcome these disadvantages for hourly workers, employers should actively promote that good work is defined by quality and not hours spent in the office.

Companies can help caregivers in hourly jobs by creating groups of employees with equivalent skills that can take over from each other when they have family needs to attend to.

Employers need also to help make paid paternity leave a social norm to lessen the load for women. Among Best Workplaces, the most generous paid parental leave, American Express provides fathers with 100 paid days.

One employee at American Express shows the special impact when fathers are supported during this major life moment:

“I [took] advantage of the parental leave policy and as a new father, it was incredible to be able to spend five months off with my daughter. I was able to develop a special bond with her that I don’t think I could have done otherwise.”

Discrimination can’t always explain why women have a different experience at work than men. But insights gleaned from data and employee surveys can.

By surveying your employees and analyzing the data, you can see where the gender and diversity gaps are and start putting the right programs and practices in place. 

CLAIRE HASTWELL

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

To determine the 2022 Vietnam Best Workplaces™, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 20,000 employees across different industries in Vietnam. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️.

85% of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified™ standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. 

Companies with 10-99 people were considered for the Small category, companies with 100-999 people were considered for the Medium category and companies with 1000+ people were considered for the Large category.