Employer loyalty dives among women due to lack of Covid support

03 June 2021 Consultancy.asia 4 min. read
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Sentiment toward employers among women in the workforce has significantly slipped during the global pandemic according to a new survey from Deloitte, with serious implications.

According to the Deloitte survey of 5,000 women in ten countries worldwide, including Singapore and China, more than half of the female workforce currently feels less optimistic as to their career prospects than prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the majority of respondents reported being subjected to harassment or aggression over the past year, while almost three out of five stated an intention to leave their current workplace within the next two years.

The Deloitte ‘Woman@Work’ survey, conducted between November and March, canvassed a broad cross-section of working-age women at various points of their professional and personal lives, such as care-givers and non care-givers serving full- or part-time in roles ranging from the C-suite through to non-managerial, covering a variety of sectors including banking and financial services, technology and media, and real estate and construction among others.

Female employment satisfaction during pandemic

Beyond the widespread claims of harassment or gendered aggression, the most troubling finding was that less than one half of respondents rated their present job satisfaction, motivation, and productivity as at least ‘good’, compared to around 70 percent prior to the pandemic. The implication is that a substantial 57 percent of those surveyed say they plan to leave their current employer within two years – and over a third of those within the next twelve months.

Much of the dissatisfaction stems from a disruption to work-life balance. Already subject to greater Covid-related job losses and household burdens than their male counterparts (the Deloitte report cites a number of studies, including stark warnings from the World Economic Forum), almost four in five women reported an increased workload, with only 35 percent saying that hey have felt supported by their employer during the pandemic when it comes to work-life balance.

Increased female responsibility at home and work during pandemic

Burnout risks

Altogether, more than a half of the women surveyed reported feelings of burnout. Most concerning, almost one quarter of respondents were considering leaving the workforce altogether as a result of this dramatically increased workload during the pandemic. The survey data however revealed one notable qualification; women who have been subjected to non-inclusive behaviours in the workplace were considering exiting the workforce at twice the rate than those who haven’t.

“The last year has been a ‘perfect storm’ for many women facing increased workloads and greater responsibilities at home, a blurring of the boundaries between the two, and continued experiences of non-inclusive behaviors at work,” said Deloitte’s Global Inclusion Leader Emma Codd. “While the adverse impact on women’s well-being, motivation, and engagement is obvious, our research also shows that some employers are getting it right.”

Work satisfaction among women working for gender equality leaders

The professional services firm points to a small group of employers which it describes as “gender equality leaders,” those its female employees state have “made good progress in building inclusive, flexible, high-trust cultures that support women.” The difference is striking across the board, with 72 percent of women who work for gender equality leaders rating their job satisfaction as ‘good’ or ‘extremely good’ compared to just 21 percent of women at lagging organisations.

Loyalty follows: 70 percent of those employed by gender equality leaders intend to stay in their jobs for at least two years, a quarter for more than five years.

Citing WEF data, the report concludes; “The pandemic has set gender parity efforts back by a generation or more. Business leaders cannot ignore this. If they do not move to proactively address gender inequality in the workplace, they are likely to lose some of their best people – and may struggle to recruit younger talent.”