As per research, there were 2.2 million fewer women in the workforce in October 2020 than in October 2019. As COVID-19 hit, women exited the workforce in droves. In India, 90% of the women are not in the workforce currently, and India stands to lose USD 6 Tn by 2050 due to the employment gap between men and women.
A recent study revealed that a staggering number (72%) of women would not hesitate to leave or reject a job if not offered flexibility. 70% of women in India have already quit their jobs due to companies not including flexibility in their policies.
Analysts have termed the exodus of women due to the lack of flexibility as ‘flexidus,’ as they may not take kindly to rigid work structures and policies.
What Brought the Situation Here?
Women did not voluntarily step out of companies. They were being let go by disproportionate job loss, shuttered schools, lack of childcare, pay disparities, and a lack of public policy to support women to stay at work remotely. The pandemic-related shutdowns and lockdowns put a spotlight on these problems.
When cities shut in 2020, childcare became a significant issue, and many parents found themselves caring for and overseeing learning for their children while performing their jobs from home. Often, women have the bulk of the responsibility, forcing them to exit the workforce.
While salary became the deciding factor in who would quit, it would be women as most of them are paid less than their male counterparts, and many women are in roles that earn them less overall.
After the pandemic, most women found it difficult to join the workforce as if nothing had happened. Many of them had difficulty explaining why they could not figure out how to do it like a few women experts we see on television.
Retaining and Advancing Women in Workplaces
With a few gender-neutral practices, companies can bring gender diversity at all levels, which is key to growth and profitability.
Create a culture that values women
Companies must create a culture that installs women in any position, including that of authority or the C-suite. Using talent intelligence could help enterprises to eliminate bias in their talent acquisition.
Additionally, talent management must encourage women to share their stories, including their challenges, and offer guidance to those who are struggling. Per a survey, 74% of women felt inspired by having access to role models.
Revisit policies and employee benefits
Talent management teams must re-examine their paid leave policies, including subsidizing childcare. They could consider creating access or providing referral options for daycare services.
Friendly policies could help women work in their own time and encourage them to choose how they spend money from their lifestyle wallets you could create for them. Some may use this for childcare, while others may subscribe to meal delivery services that save them time.
Share responsibilities with employees and check in with them regularly
Talent management must consider training employees with each other’s skills and create an emergency staff to take over from each other during emergencies. In addition, talent management must keep track of their emotional well-being.
When women use a tool that they can upload data on their emotional state, the platform can suggest breaks, encourage time off, and pass along referrals when needed.
Examine workloads and provide support
Talent management must involve reprioritizing goals to work on critical projects, which will help the leadership know what skills employees need. If necessary, they must reassign work and consider adding contractors or employees to ease the workload.
Encourage everyone to send a quick email or pick up the phone instead of inviting someone to a meeting so that employees have time to take up initiatives that they otherwise may not take. Also, talent management must provide their people with access to mental health services and coaches so that no woman professional thinks that they are going at it alone.
Talent management must acknowledge the unusual circumstances occurring worldwide, also spilling over to the workplace. Women must be given leeway as they balance the stress of a pandemic, family responsibilities, and their careers. Create a safe place for women to discuss what’s happening in their lives.
Enterprises are using Draup’s talent intelligence platform to help women get back into the workforce and narrow the skills gap for a successful transition.
In addition to identifying learning pathways optimized for time and resources to efficiently bridge skills gaps, its Diversity Navigator enables talent management to appoint women to suitable positions, including positions of authority.