The rise in female participation in the workforce — double the increase in male participation — is helping employers fill job vacancies in the tight US labor market. The percentage of prime-age women who are in the labor force climbed to 75.8% at the close of 2018, which is a full two percentage points higher than three years ago.[i]

Do you have the culture, pay, and benefits to attract female workers?

The 2018 Harris Poll Survey for Glassdoor[ii] found differences in the preferences between men and women job seekers. Here is what they discovered:

  • Working from home. 49% of women indicate that the option to work from home would make them more likely to apply for a job. Only 35% of men would be enticed by a company that offered the flexibility to work from home.
  • Assessing long-term potential as an employer. 48% of female workers/job seekers report company transparency about pay and benefits as necessary information for evaluating long- term potential at a company, compared to only 40% for men.   Similarly, 44 percent of women report that a company’s explanation on how they can grow their careers after joining would make them think the company offered long-term potential, compared to only 34 percent of men who report the same.

A survey conducted in 2017 by Fractl, a content marketing agency, and growth marketing services company shows similar findings[iii]

The Fractl survey published identified gender differences with regards to benefits. Most notably, it found:

  • Women were more likely to favor subsidized health care benefits and family benefits such as paid parental leave and free daycare services.
  • Women also preferred more flexible hours, work-from-home options, and unlimited vacation.
  • Both genders value fitness-related perks, albeit different types. Women are more likely to prefer free fitness and yoga classes, while men are more likely to prefer an on-site gym and free gym memberships.

If you want to make your work culture and benefit offerings more female-friendly, here are five suggestions for you:

  1. Provide transparency about pay, feedback, and how your employees can advance their careers.
  2. Offer subsidized healthcare benefits and benefits such as paid parental leave (for both genders), free daycare services, and more vacation.
  3. Demonstrate longer-term potential as an employer, by showing the support your employees will receive to advance their careers, such as training, mentors, coaches and subsidies for continuing their education.
  4. Provide flexible work options and if the job requirements allow, work-from-home options.
  5. In addition to gym memberships, offer fitness related perks that appeal to women such as yoga classes.

With more open jobs than unemployed, employers who don’t take steps to offer competitive pay, benefits, long-term development opportunities, and transparent cultures that women are looking for will find themselves losing out in the 2019 war for talent.

[i] Vanessa Fuhrmans, (March 1, 2019, 5:30 AM ET), “How America Works, Female Factor: Women Drive the labor-Force Comeback” The share of women participating in the workforce is rising much faster than for men”

[ii] “Salary and benefits are most important for US workers and job seekers looking at job ads, according to Glassdoor survey,” Glassdoor Press Center/Press Release, July 25, 2018. Found at https://www.glassdoor.com/press/job-seeker-preferences/.

[iii] Kerry Jones, (Feb. 15, 2017), “The Most Desirable Employee Benefits,” The Harvard Business Review. Found at https://hbr.org/2017/02/the-most-desirable-employee-benefits.

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