Women feel 'less valued' in Canadian organizations – and it's killing morale

16% of women feel their work isn't valued compared to 13% of males

Women feel 'less valued' in Canadian organizations – and it's killing morale

Women are more likely to feel underappreciated by their employer than their male counterparts – that’s according to a new report from Capterra. And, despite making strides towards gender equality in the workplace, the data proves that there’s still a lot of work to be done in Canadian workplaces.

“According to our Women in the Workplace study, women are slightly more likely to feel their work isn’t being valued by their employer than men are,” says Tessa Anaya, content analyst at Capterra Canada. “Sixteen percent of women felt their work wasn’t valued by their current company, compared to 13% of male respondents who felt the same.

One reason for this disparity, Anaya theorizes, could be the lack of opportunities for women to work on special or important projects at work. Feeling excluded from high-level, innovative projects is a surefire way to feel disengaged as an employee, especially when you see other colleagues getting the chance to collaborate.

“Male respondents said they were ‘always’ asked to work on special assignments at a higher frequency than women, by 15% and 11% of male and female respondents, respectively,” she adds. “Another aspect that could lead women to feel underappreciated at work is a lack of transparency surrounding salary equity.”

Twenty-seven percent of respondents say their company is paying female employees less than their male counterparts. What’s more, the majority of respondents (41%) were unsure if their organization had taken any steps to ensure salaries were adjusted to pay men and women the same amount.

Bridging the equality gap

In the current economic climate, with talent shortages abundant and employee anxiety rising, HR leaders have to work harder to show appreciation to their overworked teams. Off the back of Capterra’s report, employers need to think differently about their rewards and recognitions plans – with the data showing that 43% of employees feel they’re underpaid for the work they do. But what’s HR’s role in this conundrum?

“Working on employee engagement and transparency are great steps to take when trying to make all members of the workforce feel valued and considered,” advises Anaya. “Giving employees the opportunity to contribute to special projects, and alternating the employees who are chosen to do such projects fairly, can help make the workplace feel more like a team.

“It’s also important to make such projects, and their team selection process, visible for all employees, not just those on the team. Otherwise, there’s a risk of making some people feel excluded or undervalued.”

Digital tools are helpful, as some employee engagement platforms help HR leaders solicit feedback from and broadcast messages to employees in an automated fashion - saving time and maximizing visibility.

“Taking measures to ensure salary equity is also essential in creating an equitable workplace. On top of that, it’s a federally mandated requirement in some workplaces,” adds Anaya.

When creating a pay equity plan to address inequalities in employee salaries, the following should be considered:

  • Determine job classes in their organization
  • Identify whether they’re predominantly male- or female-dominated
  • Evaluate the value of work produced by each job class and calculate compensation
  • Compare the compensation between job classes doing work that is of equal (or near equal) value

“Once pay gaps in the company have been closed, be transparent about the efforts made so that employees are aware of them. Ultimately, this builds trust as well as a fairer work environment for all.”

Are Canadian organizations doing enough?

On the bright side, Canadian organizations are moving in the right direction, but more progress needs to be made in order to totally eliminate gender inequality in the workplace, according to the research.

“It might look as though Canadian organizations have a long way to go when we’re focusing on the negative points, but the truth is that they’re moving in the right direction. Most employees reported working in equally split teams of men and women, and the majority of survey-takers believe their company respects salary equity.”

One area of improvement that can continually serve a company’s gender equality goals is the establishment of employee resource groups, or ERGs, Anaya tells HRD.

“Almost half of employees surveyed (48%) say their company has no programs in place to promote gender equality. With the creation of an ERG, organizations can create communities of employees with similar needs and then organize events and take actions to address those needs in the workplace.”

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