Women working with gender equality leading organisations have three times higher loyalty, productivity, motivation, and belongingness scores than those working with laggards: Deloitte’s Women @ Work survey

The survey represents the views of 5,000 women across 10 countries, including India.

National, 25 April 2024: The fourth edition of Deloitte’s Women @ Work: A Global Outlook continues to examine some of the critical workplace and societal factors that have a profound impact on women’s careers.

Inclusive practices make a concrete difference.

On a scale of 100, women working for Gender Equality Leaders (GELs)* scored their loyalty at 76, productivity at 75, and motivation and sense of belongingness at 71. These women professionals are far more likely to recommend their organisations to other women, feel far more satisfied with the mental health support extended to them, and feel more comfortable talking about their mental health in the workplace. They are also much more optimistic about their career prospects and confident that being a woman is not a disadvantage in their organisation. Women working for “laggards” perform significantly poorly on all these parameters.

“Much has been said about the business case for inclusive practices. These findings corroborate that point of view with hard facts. If an organisation truly wants to grow, all its people need to be able to put their best foot forward. When your policies targeted at growing the careers of women professionals translate into action, you will be much better placed to grow, because you’re getting the best perspectives and a driven, gender-diverse workforce. Moreover, and importantly, you’re nurturing a nourishing and safe workplace,” says Saraswathi Kasturirangan, Chief Happiness Officer, Deloitte India.

Priority areas for organisations in India

As organisations gear up to become GELs, the Women @ Work report shines the spotlight on the top priorities:

Return-to-work approaches need to factor in unique situations.

The transition to full-time work has resulted in difficult adjustments for many women professionals. Forty-one percent have asked for a reduction in their hours, 31 percent say it has negatively impacted their mental well-being, and 36 percent think less of their employer. These parameters are better for those who are returning to the office in a hybrid setup.

Organisations need to be more supportive of professionals as they harmonise work with life commitments.

As with their global counterparts, nearly all women in India (96 percent) believe that requesting or taking advantage of flexible working opportunities will affect their career progression. Ninety-one percent feel they can’t talk with their managers about challenges with work/life balance and 94 percent don’t think their workload would be adjusted accordingly if they were to take advantage of flexible working opportunities.

Male professionals need to be encouraged to share the load at home.

Women in India are still shouldering the bulk of the responsibility when it comes to childcare and caregiving for adults. The instances where the partner shoulders these responsibilities or where there is an equal split are higher when the woman is the primary breadwinner. Even in such situations, there is a far higher reliance on paid help in India than with global counterparts (31 percent in India vs. 6 percent globally).

“An oft-neglected area with inclusive practices is getting your male professionals to be better allies, at work and home. Policies related to parental care and adult caregiving need to reflect this expectation,” opines Saraswathi. “Keeping with the higher trust placed in paid help for childcare in India, organisations could amplify their day-care provisions with facilities like nanny reimbursement.”

Forty-six percent of Indian respondents cited personal safety at work or when travelling to/from work as a top concern.

A little over a quarter of respondents feel that they could be attacked or harassed due to the location or neighbourhood of their workplace. Although to a lesser degree, other concerns are related to harassment or uncomfortable behaviour by clients, harassment while travelling to work, and harassment by a colleague.

Saraswathi emphasises, “Furthering the equal participation of women in our workforce goes well beyond the four walls of the office, and some of the priorities would include change in behaviour. It is important for organisations to call out undesirable behaviour such as micro-aggressions and gender-bias. It is also important to focus on areas that may feel like they’re beyond the organisation’s control, which nevertheless need investment of best possible efforts. For example, extending the zero-tolerance policy for bad behaviour by colleagues to vendors / customers as well; a night-time travel policy where there are safeguards for women professionals; and sensitisation training that covers allyship in general, instead of just as a rule at the workplace.”

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