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A new survey indicates women’s progress in the workplace may be impacted by job security concerns and increased caregiving responsibilities during the pandemic, as challenges loom with employers preparing return-to-work plans. 

A Perceptyx survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees found: 

  • 48% of women have become either much less or somewhat less likely to want to return to the physical workplace full-time than they were six months ago. 
  • Roughly 24% of both women and men would prefer to adopt a hybrid working arrangement after COVID-19. Men, however, intend to spend 3-4 days per week in the physical workplace, whereas women intend to spend 2-3 days per week. 
  • While the same number of men and women hope to return to the workplace full-time post-pandemic (35%), 62% of women were in a physical workplace full-time before the pandemic, compared with 57% of men, indicating a greater drop-off for women. 

“To-date, the damage the pandemic has had on women in the workplace has been significant, and unfortunately our data shows again and again that this effect isn’t declining as we look towards getting back to normal,” said Brett Wells, Ph.D., Director of People Analytics at Perceptyx 

“Instead, our research indicates the gender gap will widen even further if the realities organizations face aren’t acknowledged and addressed. Women have fundamentally changed the way they want to work. It’s critical these desires be taken into account as organizations make plans to get their employees back into the office.” 

The report entitled, “The Gender Gap Widens: Three Critical Actions Required to Support Women in the Workplace, included areas of awareness for employers, such as: 

  • Sourcing has traditionally been an opportunity to increase parity among gender groups. Open positions that are posted as physical-workspace-only will likely receive fewer female applicants post-pandemic, and the natural result will be fewer women in the workplace. 
  • Out of sight cannot mean out of mind. Perceived impacts are already taking hold for those working remotely; 40% have seen a decline when it comes to the frequency of performance reviews, recognition, promotions, and raises. Each time women miss a chance for promotion, the funnel narrows. 
  • Recognize that different factors motivate women and men to stay or leave their current employers. In an earlier study of more than 750,000 employees across more than 100 global enterprises, Perceptyx found that women are most driven to leave an organization when they aren’t empowered to make their own decisions about how to best accomplish their work. 

To read more about the study, click here.