According to recent research from the World Economic Forum, women around the world will have to wait 217 years for the differences between pay and employment opportunities available to them and to men to disappear. So while the heightened profile of the conversation surrounding inclusion and diversity and how women are treated in the workplace is encouraging, we still have a long way to go before we can reach equality.
But that’s no reason not to take action now. Indeed is dedicated to helping organizations address this challenge, so we’re partnering with three review websites that focus on inclusiveness in the workplace — Fairygodboss, InHerSight and Comparably — to offer enhanced information through our Company Pages to anyone interested in evaluating the diversity and inclusiveness of employers today. Via Fairygodboss and InHerSight we will have more reviews and ratings by women for women, and through Comparably we will provide a diversity score for employers.
Our goal? By incorporating more insight and ratings from women, we will boost transparency and accountability on this issue, while providing a resource for employers interested in creating more diverse workplaces. We also intend to empower job seekers to find a workplace that understands and supports their needs.
But that’s not all: To provide still more resources to employers who are looking to attract and retain more diverse workforces, we conducted a study of 1000 women in tech, a field which has long struggled with diversity and inclusion issues (but where employers are increasingly dedicated to finding solutions), to get insights into their needs and wants when considering a job—and what is and isn’t working for them at their employers. Taken together, this information can help companies boost their efforts at improving inclusion, while also enabling them to build an employer brand that will better work towards recruiting and retaining talent, with the ultimate goal of making the world a more equal place.
Here’s what we found.
Health insurance is the #1 priority for over two thirds of women
Salary is a key motivator when a candidate considers a new position, of course. But which other factors matter to women in tech when they are considering new job opportunities?
Top of the list is health insurance, which 68% of respondents named as important. Just over half (52%) chose vacation time, which should come as no surprise given Americans’ strenuous work schedules. Meanwhile, 46% of respondents chose bonuses and regular raises, 37% selected regular time off and just 26% cited retirement planning.
These priorities changed slightly when we broke the results down by generation. For example, vacation time was most significant to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, with more than 55% women ages 45-54 naming it as an important factor, compared to just 45% of respondents ages 16 to 24, a difference that might be attributable to the desire of younger workers who are less established in their careers to make an impact.
More than half of respondents (52%) who’ve been working in tech for less than a year said regular raises and bonuses are important to them. Compare this to just 29% respondents who have been in the industry for 40+ years, and are likely earning healthy salaries.
Only 76% of women in tech receive health insurance through their employers
But are tech employers offering what female job seekers want? To some extent: Only 76% respondents said their companies offer health insurance. 74% report that their companies offer vacation time, 56% say they’re offered retirement planning, 50% work for companies with bonuses and regular raises, while just 36% of respondents say their companies have performance bonuses.
The fact that the top two most important benefits match up with the two most commonly provided benefits is a positive sign. And while nearly a quarter of women do not receive health insurance at their companies, this might be explained by the presence of contract workers or employees at small startups.
Through Indeed's new partnerships, Company Pages will now include more women-centric ratings and diversity scores for employers.
Tenure in the tech industry also has an impact on these numbers, with 93% of women who have been in the industry for 40+ years reporting that their companies provide vacation time, compared to just 55% of people who have been in the industry for 1 to 2 years.
Overall, levels of satisfaction with benefits varies. More than half of respondents say their company benefits meet their needs extremely well or quite well (although “extremely well” responses were lower among employees in the 45-54 age range). Just 27% respondents said their needs were met moderately well and 14% said their needs were met only slightly well.
Strikingly, however, even though health insurance was the most important benefit for our respondents, satisfaction with that particular benefit is low. Fewer than 68% of respondents are satisfied with the health insurance offered at their companies, and just under 3 in 10 (29%) report being extremely satisfied. Contrast that with the satisfaction level for flexible time off policies (81%) and vacation time (74%).
The importance of parental leave
Paid leave for new parents is a hot topic, and many leading tech firms have taken notice. In 2015 Facebook announced that it would offer four months of paid parental leave to every full-time employee of the company. Other tech firms like Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft and Adobe have followed suit, making improvements to their leave policies in recent years.
Still, paid parental leave in the U.S. remains a rarity, with only 12% of private sector workers having access to it, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The picture painted by our survey respondents was better, but not in a revolutionary sense. Just 32.5% reported that their companies offer parental leave. And of that 32.5%, 69% reported that their companies provide paid leave, 14% work for companies that provide unpaid leave and 17% weren’t sure whether leave was paid or unpaid. Women at these companies also reported that the most common length of maternal leave was between one and two months.
Parental leave isn’t much use if employees don’t feel comfortable taking advantage of it: survey results showed that 83% of respondents who had children while working for their current companies said they felt some level of pressure to return to work during their leave.
What was behind that pressure? 38% of respondents cited a fear of losing credibility or value, followed by 34% of respondents who said the pressure came directly from colleagues or managers, then 32% who pointed to a fear of losing their jobs.
So what’s the takeaway? If companies have a parental leave policy in place, they also need to be clear about giving employees room to take advantage of those policies without fear that they’re jeopardizing their jobs.
In fact, of the women who had children while at their current companies, only 32% called their company’s parental leave policies “completely sufficient.”
Only 49% of women feel that both genders are treated equally in the workplace
We know how firms are doing when it comes to benefits, but what about the larger questions of gender equality in the workplace?
The tech industry still has a long road of improvements ahead. Only 49% of respondents feel that both genders are treated equally. Of the remaining women surveyed, 36% feel that men receive some degree of favorable treatment.
There’s also a significant difference in how different generations of women view this problem: 43% of women ages 45 and up believe men receive favorable treatment, compared with just 20% of 16-24 year olds. That could be a good sign, although whether the lower number among younger workers reflects genuine improvement or fewer negative experiences in shorter careers remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, over a third (36%) of women say they’re paid less and 59% of women report receiving fewer opportunities than their male counterparts.
But in addition to troubling numbers such as these, there is some good news: 76% of respondents said it was important for women to be a part of the company’s leadership team (which includes senior managers, directors and the c-suite) and 80% reported that women at their companies do, in fact, hold some of those positions.
The road ahead
So where to next?
“There’s a critical conversation happening right now across the country as companies and employees, women and men, are coming to terms with the problems that still exist for women in many workplaces,” says Ursula Mead, CEO of InHerSight.
As a result, it is more important than ever for employers to know who they are speaking to if they want to build thriving, diverse and inclusive workplaces.
Women are often looking for the answers to different types of questions or information about a company’s culture, benefits and policies than men—and as Georgene Huang, CEO of Fairygodboss points out, “employers who realize this will be able to better attract qualified female talent and improve their brand, overall, with women if they work with us to understand what women want and need.”
"There is still a lot of work to do before we can achieve the goal of a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. But as Jason Nazar, CEO of Comparably, points out “the ability to see how employees of similar backgrounds and ethnicities rate their workplace experiences [like the ones derived from employee reviews] are relevant insights for any job seeker when deciding his or her next crucial career move."
And now, through Indeed’s partnership with InHerSight, Fairygodboss and Comparably, women and members of other underrepresented groups will now have powerful tool to evaluate companies and find jobs that offer the best fit.
Methodology: Censuswide surveyed 1005 US female workers in the technology industry on behalf of Indeed in February 2018.