The Workforce Is Failing Women. Business Leaders Can Stop It

The last few days years have illuminated the experiences of women in the workplace: We exhaustedto be underpaid, and we do not stop fighting for basic rights. In fact, we are in the depths of a “concession” :One of three women are looking to change careers or leave the workforce altogether, joining the millions of women who have left their jobs over the past few years.

With a global labor shortage and care crisis continue to stress the workforce, smart leaders will invest in reversing the franchise process by making structural changes to the way we work, emphasizing flexibility . Failure to do so will push many women to their breaking point and out of the workplace. But vanity is not the woman but the system. And 2023 will be the year to start fixing it.

There’s no question that flexibility matters. When it comes to determining job satisfaction, research by Slack’s Future Forum consortium shows flexibility second only to compensation. This is especially true for parents, especially working mothers. Today, 83% of working mothers prefer the flexible location model.

Too often, however, the conversation about flexibility is limited to “the number of days in the office.” In 2023, the meaning of flexibility will go beyond where you work to when you work. 95% of female desk workers want flexibility in their schedules—more choice in how they organize their workday beyond the occasional office appointment—and most today have no choice. there. With a clear need for flexibility and high turnover, leaders will give employees more choice in how they work and break away from the traditional, outdated 9:5 productivity model. time.

This transition to flexibility has many benefits: We’re seeing huge benefits for women in careers as they feel engaged, satisfied with their work and fulfilled. fluency in work-life. But proximity bias — bias toward people working nearby in the office — is a potential hazard that leaders must proactively eliminate. Why? Ours research found that women, employees of color and working mothers were more likely to want to continue to work flexible, while men, white employees, and those without caregiving jobs were more likely more likely to return to the office full-time. Left unchecked and without deliberate action, workplace disparities can deepen, creating existing inequalities.

To combat proximity bias, leaders will increasingly have a better understanding of how employee performance is measured during promotion reviews and the feedback cycle. Research shows that Men are more likely to receive feedback based on their results, while women’s assessments were more likely to be derived from personality traits. By 2023, more and more managers will be retooled to focus on the results their employees are creating instead of outdated measures of work ethic and commitment, such as “people the first to come and the last to leave”. When they get this right, companies will begin to see an impact on their ability to attract and retain talent.

I hope that we’re finally ready to build a fairer, more representative workforce by actually fixing a system that’s always broken. Growing up, I watched my immigrant mother constantly make trade-offs between parenting and work—and because of the financial needs of our extended family, work often triumphed. I remember how painful those choices were for her, and at the end of her 40-year career her advice to me was: “No matter how hard you work, keep trying. [to break the glass ceiling] unworthy.”

The past two years have proven that change is possible, as millions of people have fundamentally re-imagined the way they work. But to create systemic change, leaders must redesign the way they recruit, evaluate, and promote women. And now it’s time to change the system.


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