‘Women are working harder than men’

HR run the risk of losing their star performers if they gloss over the desires of their hardest working employees

‘Women are working harder than men’

Women are working harder than men and now appear to be the driving force behind corporate performance, according to Aaron McEwan, HR advisory leader at Gartner.

“Gender differences in the workplace have long been a topic of intense focus and speculation, but the data is clear,” he said.

McEwan’s comments following new research from Gartner which shows more female employees are willing to go above and beyond at work compared to their male counterparts.

Indeed, data from the Gartner Global Talent Monitor reveals that effort among Australian female employees is almost 7% higher than their male colleagues.

In Q4 2017, female effort levels increased 1.6% to reach 24.2%, compared to just a 0.5% increase seen in male workers.

At a time when global effort levels are in decline, Australia is powering along with discretionary effort increasing 1.4% in Q4 2017; a full 5% ahead of the international average, according to the data.

The data also shows that high discretionary effort in organisations can drive up to 23% higher business performance.

Even though women are putting in more effort, they have developed clear expectations of what they want from their employer. Female workers are less satisfied with their rewards (28.6%) including health benefits, compensation and vacation, compared to men (29.5%).

Moreover, perceptions of pay among women is lower than their male colleagues (57.3% versus 59.9%).

“Organisations really need to think about what they are doing to support the continued productivity and engagement of their female workforce,” said McEwan.

“They run the risk of losing their star performers if they continue to gloss over the desires of their hardest working employees.”

The most productive segment of the workforce is also the most likely to leave, according to the data. Intent to stay among male workers is currently 41.5% while female intent to stay is 40.5%.

“Some boards and CEOs have already begun to place increased scrutiny on their diversity and inclusion efforts, with their sights firmly on addressing gender pay equity,” said McEwan.

“The time has never been better to address the pay disparity and reward those who are putting in the hard yards."

Gartner recommends organisations look at the following three areas:

  • Equal pay: Across the entire workforce, build foundational knowledge of how pay decisions are made, including transparency around internal and external factors that might influence pay within the organisation. Use objectives to regularly define the most important ways employees can contribute to business objectives, alongside the expectations for their role. Ensure rewards for both women and men are reflective of the goals they achieve.
  • Greater flexibility: Flexible work advances career opportunities for women by supporting employees’ work-life balance, which benefits all employees but especially women, who are particularly likely to juggle work with household responsibilities like child or elder care. To effectively enable flexible work, however, companies must remove the stigma around it for both men and women.
  • Engage in rewards conversations: Empower employees to have a dialogue about how they feel about their individual rewards, what they want, and how the organisation can work towards realistic and achievable rewards that satisfy the workforce.

Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labour Market Survey which is made up of more than 22,000 employees in 40 countries. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication.

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