Over half (51 percent) of women stressed that transparency around pay and remuneration was a key consideration in removing barriers around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
September 8th, 2022, (Dubai, UAE): Six in 10 women expressed concern that a hybrid working style leads to them missing out on key opportunities for career progression, a strong sentiment amongst Gen X (100 percent) when compared to millennials (52 percent) and Gen Z (47 percent) women in the workforce. This is according to a survey by leading global management consultancy firm Kearney that looks at several factors affecting women in the workplace, including employer support of career ambitions, adoption of hybrid working, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion imperatives set by their organisations.
When looking at the evolution of workplaces, over half (51 percent) of respondents revealed that they have been provided and choose the flexibility to work from home or office by their employers. 27 percent of respondents were offered hybrid working cultures but choose to work from the office, whereas six percent chose to only work from home. Of those surveyed, only 11 percent stated that the organization they work at do not have a hybrid working set-up in place.
While the Kearney survey reveals a real concern among women on career progression and hybrid working, respondents also noted higher levels of motivation (64 percent), productivity (62 percent), and inclusion (62 percent). Respondents remained optimistic about the changing landscape with 85 percent believing that the organisations that they work for offer equitable opportunities and support across its staff.
Isabel Neiva, Lead Partner of Transactions and Transformation practice at Kearney Middle East comments, “Encouraging women to play a more significant role is bound to boost economic diversification and ultimately concretize UAE’s efforts towards UNSDG 5 on gender equality. New working structure and models can level the playfield by bringing more women to the workforce. However, there is still a perception that women must be visible, work harder, and provide more evidence of their competence than men to progress in their careers, particularly to move into leadership positions. A gender-split in the take up of hybrid working can hinder the benefits that we all expect. It is key for organizations to have an integrated approach to drive diversity and inclusion and eradicate bias across different working models. Having the right policies in place, complemented by fit-for-purpose programs, such as regular trainings to upskill their female employees, and suitable workplace environments, without forgetting communication, are a few critical elements to consider.”
When looking at policies that have a positive impact on removing barriers around diversity, equity, and inclusion over half (51 percent) of women stressed that transparency around pay and remuneration was a key consideration. This was followed by policies that encouraged a firm structure for growth within the company (49 percent) and adjusting the physical work environment to make it comfortable for everyone (45 percent). Other factors that women claimed were key to removing gender barriers in the workplace were establishing quotas and targets around the number of women in leadership positions (37 percent), and having access to diversity networks such as a gender equality network (37percent).
“We see a real demand for transparency about the world of opportunities present to women. The overarching objective is to ensure that women are given the means and support required to reach their full potential.” Isabel adds.
Over the last few years, there have been increased expectations amongst professionals from their employers. The survey reveals that visibility on their personal career development plan (47 percent), regular promotions (39 percent) and access to mentorship (34 percent) are the most appreciated areas of support amongst women.
Eight in 10 women working in the UAE claim that the organisations they work in have policies in place to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion, and 77 percent of the respondents felt that these policies have a positive overall impact in the workplace. “All the evidence points to the fact that increasing women’s economic participation in GCC countries is not only possible, it is well within the region’s grasp. For those who are bold enough, the rewards are there for the taking.” Isabel concludes.
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