What Women Want … At Work

Female-workfoce-640x480There has been a lot of talk in the past about how to motivate ones employee to perform better and whether the motivational factors for women are different from those for men. The number of women being added to the workforce in Pakistan has increased considerably, enough to ask – how many of us actually make it to top ranking positions and stay there?

Employers may argue that they don’t have enough qualified and developed female employees to promote to top level positions. If that is the case, it should be the responsibility of organization leaders to invest in the female workforce and to create a corporate culture that appeals to top female performers. However, the question still remains: What appeals to the top female performers? What Do These Women Want… At Work?

According to an article by Dr. Romila Singh, “Corporate America has made huge strides in attracting top-notch female talent to their workplaces, but they rapidly lose them – not for gender-specific reasons, but gender-neutral reasons. Retention is closely tied to advancement: same for women as it is for men. What is Corporate America doing to close the revolving door for women?”

After decades of research, the question is no longer what women want or even whether their needs are similar or different from that of male employees. The question is: How do organizations ensure that they are indeed offering women the same things as they are offering men?”

Speaking to some of the top female talent in Pakistan’s corporate world, here are a few factors that came to light:

My Work Arrangements Should Be Flexible:

Flexibility is about an employee and employer making changes to when, where and how a person will work better to meet individual and business needs. Being in charge of work arrangements is something that greatly appeals to women. When balancing their personal and professional lives, women tend to favor having flexible options on how to manage their time.

According to an article I read in the economic times, written by Saundarya Rajesh, “Being able to allot some time to home-related activities even during the regular working hours, is the biggest ask from the side of the woman manager. Multiple flavors of flexible working abound – part-timing, flexi-timing, job-sharing, job-splitting, staggered work hours.”

My Work Should Be Meaningful:

In today’s world women are studying, pursuing their careers, raising children, running households and taking care of their spouses. It’s important for working women to feel and to know that what they do is meaningful. A female employee needs to feel that her time away from home and family is something that will yield her extravagant results in the future and is not going to waste. She also needs to feel that the organization depends on her and that she is valuable resource.

My Appraisal Should Be Fair:

One of the most important factors in understanding the right way to attain and retain female talent, is to understand that women don’t like to be discriminated against. The principal thought is “I am a woman, but don’t you dare hold that against me.” It’s important to note that every female in the corporate world wants to know that they are taken seriously and the playing field is leveled. A future pay raise, promotion, transfer, etc… should not be held back because the employer feels that being a woman, the employee needs to be tried and tested more.

“Never make the cardinal mistake of paying a woman less than her male counterpart.” According to Romana Khokar, Director at Engage Consulting, it is very important for a woman’s work to be appreciated by her family, colleagues should recognize the contributions and the organization should aim at consciously remove glass ceiling which prevent career progression.

Anushey Matri
(Marketing Manager, Engage Consulting)

You may also like:
The Balancing Act
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2 thoughts on “What Women Want … At Work

  1. Great article! I’m a final year student at LUMS and was really disappointed when I interned at a well-known Pakistani company this summer and found their environment for women to be far from ideal. SInce I’ll be graduating soon and wanted a good flavour of the corporate world it was sad to see that the only female employees in the company had jobs of a clerical nature, which really affected the employees’ general perception of women as well.

  2. Great points high lighted by Paul.
    I am compelled to say that Pakistani Corporate culture is not that much conducive for women )(atleast) which we have dreamt off . Since i am into my professional life the top notch problem i found is
    1- Female employees are not being given chances to come on the front face.
    2- And the most denouncing fact is the Bullying behavior of boses.

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