Read these stats out loud: women are paid 82 cents on the dollar compared to men. Only 33 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women (and that's the most women the list has ever had). 73% of women have experienced microaggressions, or everyday discrimination, at work.
It's depressing to have these facts down cold, but I think many of us do because they're constantly repeated in articles, books, and speeches (which we'll see even more of in the next few weeks, considering that March is Women's History Month and International Women's Day is March 8th).
It's important to know the "what is" when it comes to inequality at work. I'd never argue against that.
But I would argue that it's even more important to know the "why."
Why do women take certain jobs? Why do women leave the workforce, if they do? Why do some companies' efforts to retain women work and other companies' efforts fail?
It's easy to make assumptions about what women want and where companies fall short — but many of those assumptions (that women most often leave the workforce to take care of children, for example) have been proven wrong. So rather than make assumptions, we asked 310 women and non-binary people in the PowerToFly community to tell us about their goals and wants for 2020. And wow, you told us.
We learned what matters most to women when they're looking for new opportunities. We dug into what kinds of diversity & inclusion efforts resonate with women and which fall flat. And we heard stories—some inspiring, some infuriating, some both—about your experiences at work and what you want to see change. We've compiled the key results in our 2020 What Women Want report.
Here are some of the findings that I think you'll find especially interesting:
- 98% of women would like to work from home at least one day a week.
- A full 66% of gainfully employed women are still looking for new, better opportunities.
- When considering what kinds of opportunities would make them switch jobs, meaningful work wins out: 75% of women would be driven to accept an offer if it allowed them to do work they were passionate about
- Better pay and more flexibility also matter, but other much-talked-about benefits—including on-site childcare—are surprisingly far down on the list of what women care about the most.
We also asked you about your level of satisfaction across a range of aspects of your work: career trajectory, relationship with your boss, work-life balance.
Your answers pointed out exactly where companies can invest in order to better hire and retain women: concrete professional development plans and paths. That tracked with stories you told us about being left out of meetings and getting pigeonholed into administrative tasks that had nothing to do with your job description. (Which has happened to me, too, and I'm fully with you on how frustrating, demeaning, and enraging that can be.)
The report goes into more depth on all of the above subjects and a few more that are vital for both job seekers and companies to understand, like:
- What is actually women's #1 diversity and inclusion wish-list change (it's not better sexual harassment policies or trainings)
- How companies can start creating more women-friendly workplaces today, no expensive or complicated plans needed
- Why growth paths drive job searches for the majority of women
Knowing what women want at work is the first step towards creating work environments and opportunities that can support women and allow them to succeed. So thank you for helping us to dig deeper on the subject.
We'll continue to partner with companies across industries to fast-track gender equality by putting women into top roles that give them what they're looking for—and slowly but surely turn around that stat about the Fortune 500.
Until then, read and download the report and let us know what you think!