LinkedIn has launched a consumer research in India, to uncover the challenges faced by women at work.
The study is based on 2,266 respondents and aims to help employers break biases that are holding women back from pursuing their professional interests.
Contrary to LinkedIn’s 2021 ‘future of work study’, which stated that 78% of leaders were to offer job flexibility in India, the current study shows that poor employer sentiment towards flexible working and career breaks has prevented women from asking for greater flexibility and re-entering the workforce.
As pay cuts, bias, and exclusion become penalties for working flexibly, women are either quitting or considering quitting their jobs in 2022.
The report also found that 72% of India’s working women reject roles that don’t allow for flexible working
Following the impact of the pandemic, 83% of working women want to work more flexibly, with 70% of them quitting or considering quitting their jobs because they weren’t offered the right flexible policies.
43% of them believe that flexible working improves their work-life balance and helps their careers progress, whereas 34% of them state that it improves their mental health. The rest of the 33% share that flexibility increases their likelihood of staying in their current jobs.
The study also revealed that a strong employer bias led 88% of women to take a pay in exchange for working flexibly, while 37% of them were denied their flexible working requests. In addition, 27% of women struggled to convince their bosses to accept their request.
34% of working women avoid telling their clients, 35% their colleagues and 33% their friends that they work flexibly.
77% of them felt a career break had set them back in their careers due to the stigma around it.
To find a balance between personal and professional commitments, the search showed that 78% of women in India are now taking career breaks to improve their well-being, plan career changes, and boost their confidence at work. It also stated that the career breaks help these women learn new hard and soft skills and boost their employability towards the right job market.
However, despite the benefits of these sabbaticals, 77% of women felt that the break set them back in their careers, while 50% of them had to explain their career break to recruiters. This resulted in 42% of women excluding career breaks out of their CVs, with 35% lying about their breaks to potential recruiters during interviews.
The research also concluded by stating that 80% of India’s working women wish for ways that would help them represent their career breaks more positively to hiring managers.
Ruchee Anand, senior director, India talent and learning solutions, LinkedIn, said, “Flexible working is the No. 1 priority today for all professionals, especially for working women. In fact, our research finds that India is at the brink of a ‘flexidus’ with 7 out of 10 working women quitting or considering quitting their jobs due to lack of flexibility. This is a warning sign for companies and recruiters to remove the stigma surrounding the need for flexibility and career breaks, and introduce stronger flexibility policies if they don’t want to lose top talent.
She added, As LinkedIn is uniquely positioned to help professionals in such times, we have also launched a new ‘Career Breaks’ feature to normalise taking career breaks and help women re-enter the workforce. This feature will de-stigmatise resume gaps as part of our professional journeys, and empower women to better communicate their unique experiences to their connections and recruiters.”
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