Women more likely to prioritize flexibility: survey

'Employers who want to recruit, retain women must recognize flexibility is now table stakes'

Women more likely to prioritize flexibility: survey

While flexibility is a crucial consideration for all workers these days, this is more so among women than among men, according to a recent survey.

Over seven in 10 (72%) female workers said work-from-home flexibility is extremely or quite important to them, compared to 67% of men, found Abacus Data and podcast The Honest Talk.

Overall, 58% of Canadians want to work from home at least half of the time.

However, women would choose to work from home 65% of the time — 13 points higher on average than men. 

“The pandemic forced millions of Canadians to change where and how they work. For most, especially women, a more flexible work life is welcomed and preferred,” said David Coletto, Abacus Data chair and CEO and lead researcher on the study.

“Employers who want to recruit and retain women must recognize that flexibility is now table stakes.”

Money matters

Also, over a third (36%) of respondents would give up more money if it meant they could work from home as much as they like. Among women, this rose to 42%, which is 10 points higher than men, found the survey of 1,313 working Canadian adults in January.

Among parents of kids under the age of 15, mothers want to spend 64% of the time working from home compared with 51% of fathers. For those who have offspring aged 18 to 29, this still holds true (59% versus 52%).

Women were more likely than men to prefer keeping the work-life they have today than going back to how it was before the pandemic (44% vs. 39%).

“Simply going back to the way things were done pre-pandemic is not going to be an option for many workplaces,” said Jennifer Stewart, co-founder of The Honest Talk.

“It’s important that leaders understand what employees and potential candidates value in a job as they make these critical decisions around a future workplace.”

The number of hours worked, the way in which they are organized, and the availability of rest periods “can significantly affect not only the quality of work, but also life outside the workplace,” the International Labor Organization (ILO) previously reported.

Meeting women’s needs

And to meet women’s needs, Monster suggested that employers do the following:

  • Strive to have more women in leadership roles.
  • Create safe and inclusive workplaces for women at work.
  • Acknowledge the challenges of hybrid work for women.
  • Make an unwavering commitment to equal pay.

“As employers navigate post-pandemic hiring in a tight labour market, it’s crucial to recognize that what women need is largely the same as what they needed all along: Flexibility, a viable career path, equal pay, respect in the workplace,” said Monster.


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