Women day 2020 main region

International Women’s Day 2020
Men are less likely to recognise inequality in the workplace than women

In the context of International Women’s Day, we at Hays have surveyed just over 1,300 people across the globe to find out what employees think of their employer’s commitment to achieving gender equality in the workplace and what potential barriers might be hindering this process.

For the second year running our global survey, we have found that men are more likely than women to believe that their employer is committed to achieving gender equality in the workplace. The overall numbers show that only a third of all respondents stated that their employer isn’t fully engaged in achieving gender equality, while more than half acknowledged that their company is undertaking some actions in this matter. This is an improvement in comparison to last year’s numbers. In 2019, only 45% of respondents thought their employer was actively fighting gender inequality. 

Different results per gender

When breaking the results down by gender, we got some very interesting insights. Although very few of the men who participated in our survey thought their employer wasn’t fully engaged in solving the gender equality issue, more than four out of ten women felt their employer was still underperforming in that regard. Alternatively, six out of ten male respondents believed that their employer was actively committed to fighting gender inequality, whereas considerably less women shared the same opinion. 

Sandra Henke, Hays Group Head of People and Culture, was very pleased with the results of the survey, but she stressed that “with a third of the workers stating that their employer isn’t fully committed to gender equality, there is still much more work to be done.” In order for the perceptions on gender equality to be more aligned, she thinks that “businesses need to be (more) transparent and communicate to their workforce which steps they are taking to tackle inequality”. That way, we can create more awareness around this topic, which is exactly what some of our respondents recommended we should do by, for example, organising (more) training sessions on this subject. 

A look to the future

Since there is still much work to be done, what areas can be improved upon? Aside of the need for more training on gender inequality, most respondents found equality in terms of opportunities to be the main sticking point. However, more than half of all women who participated in our survey believed that equal pay is a more important requirement for achieving gender equality than creating equal opportunities. There are also elements where most respondents found their company to be actively engaged in. Both men and women agreed that equal opportunities (31%), flexible working practices (22%) and equal pay (21%) were the top three areas in which their company stood out.

Looking towards the future, Sandra Henke acknowledges the importance of “purposely supporting and managing diversity and inclusion, especially at an executive level” when fighting for gender equality. The world changes at a rapid pace, and every day the business environment becomes more and more challenging. Therefore, she can’t stress enough that “it’s essential for businesses to ensure they have the best available ideas in the room, which means access to every voice”, regardless of their gender.

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