Understanding How to Improve Women's Satisfaction at Work
Photo credit: Fairygodboss
At Fairygodboss, we're fortunate to have a unique perspective into the candid experiences of thousands of women in the workplace. Our community comprise young and affluent women: nearly 65% are Millennials (under 35) and 73% of respondents report earning more than $50,000 per year in salary.
They are also relatively satisfied in their jobs, overall. Analyzing thousands of anonymous job reviews women have posted, 57% rated their job experience a 4 or higher on a scale of 1-5 where 5 represents maximum job satisfaction.
Nearly a year after our March 2015 launch, we've worked with a statistician who has culled through the reviews and and reviewed their tags them for common themes and topics. The result: we are able to gain a sense for 5 of the key factors that are highly related to job satisfaction for women:
1. Women are more satisfied where gender equality prevails.
Women who rate their experience highly in terms of job satisfaction are more likely to commend their employer for having a culture where women are treated fairly across many dimensions. As an example, one woman at American Express wrote: "Women are treated equally for promotions. There are still more male senior executives but it does seem like the company is devoting major efforts to promote women."
2. Women are more satisfied when they see gender-balanced management teams.
Women who posted high job satisfaction observed many women throughout the management ranks above them, indicating both opportunity and support for their careers. From a woman at Prudential: "I've worked here for over 5 years and there are many women working here. Several women in leadership which is great to see."
3. Women are more satisfied at employers who promote work/life balance.
Work/life balance emerges as a major theme in our research. We see a high correlation between women's job satisfaction and comments such as this one from a research engineer: "New Balance is very respectful of the fact that employees (both men and women) have a life outside of work...There is virtually no pressure to work longer hours on a regular basis. Using all your vacation/paid time off as needed is also perfectly OK."
4. Women are more satisfied at employers with family-friendly values and practices.
In many job reviews on our site, it becomes clear that women are more satisfied working for employers who have empathy and respect for their responsibilities at home. From a Vice President at ADP: "ADP has allowed me to provide for my family financially, and I have not ever missed anything for my children...which makes me run through brick walls for ADP."
5. Women are more satisfied when they have received and taken more paid maternity leave.
Fairygodboss has observed a direct correlation between the length of paid maternity leave a woman takes and their job satisfaction. One woman at Johnson & Johnson said: "In the 6 years I have worked here, I have seen some truly amazing things. For example, paid maternity leave is paid at 100% of the employee's salary, is not held against them, and was recently extended from 12 weeks to 17 weeks."
For employers who are committed to improving the numbers and experiences of women in the workplace, it is essential to understand the factors and levers that impact female talent's decisions about where to work -- and stay. Once the factors are clearly identified, employers can begin to break down the obstacles that prevent women from achieving success throughout the senior ranks of organizations, allocating resources wisely and deliberately.
For a closer look at our data, please review Fairygodboss' presentation on female job satisfaction.
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