The return of office work means misery for female workers

Bombay : The adoption of rigid back-to-work policies by several companies in India will hurt their female workers and reduce their diversity ratios, according to a LinkedIn report. In exclusive research shared with Mint, the business networking site said seven in 10 working women have left a job or are considering leaving without the right flexible policies.

“As the Great Reshuffle continues, companies with biased practices and inadequate flexible policies run the risk of excluding diverse talent pools with unique perspectives,” said Ruchee Anand, senior director of talent solutions, learning and engagement at LinkedIn, in an interview.

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A reality check

Many women have been forced to take pay cuts for more flexibility, while many others have had their requests for flexibility turned down, according to the LinkedIn survey of 2,266 respondents. The findings are part of LinkedIn’s Career Breaks and Flexibility Consumer Research 2022 report.

The study found that since the pandemic outbreak, working women (83%) are more likely to want to work more flexibly. It showed that 72% of working women say they will never accept a job that does not allow them to work flexibly.

These figures come at a time when companies are pushing employees to return to the office after more than two years of work-from-home policies. Recruiters from all sectors have been urged to ensure that newcomers are willing to work from the office or, at the bare minimum, be located in the same city as their offices.

Anand called the trend “unfortunate,” adding that companies and recruiters instead need to introduce new work policies that tackle the stigma around flexibility and normalize career breaks to make work “work” for people. the women.

The report indicates that the top policies that women find most helpful are flexible working hours (86%), reduced working hours (82%), remote work policies (82%) and hybrid work (82%). But only a few female workers are currently offered these policies by employers: flexible working hours (31%), reduced working hours (25%), remote working policies (25%) and hybrid working policies (26 %).

However, the demand for flexibility is accompanied by a fear of exclusion and wage cuts. Around nine in 10 working women (88%) in India have had to take a pay cut to work flexibly, and more than half of them (47%) are still working the same hours.

The top five reasons why women do not use flexible work arrangements are ‘not working on special projects’ (29%), ‘not getting a promotion or pay raise pay” (29%), “end up working overtime” (26%), “should take a pay cut” (24%), and “the manager would treat them unfavourably” (23%).

Interestingly, taking a break has helped many women invest in their well-being. LinkedIn reported that 83% of professional women in India said taking a break had a positive impact on their wellbeing, compared to just 75% of men.

Some sectors are more open to flexible working policies than others. The report pointed out that IT and telecommunications (89.59%), law (88%) and education (87.59%) are sectors where professionals work flexibly. The least flexible are HR (79%), healthcare (80%) and architecture, engineering and construction (80%).

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Jose C. Birney