What Women Want in the Workplace


Many businesses fail to understand the diversity in the demographics that comprise their workforce. What attracts, retains and creates job satisfaction for each demographic group is different. What motivates male hourly employees varies significantly from what motivates top performing female executives. Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of Top Talent and Harvard University professor, specifically studied top performing female executives, those in the top 6% of the earning bracket.

Her research focused on how the work environment has changed since the economic downturn and the affects it has had on top talent in some of the nations leading organizations. The downturn, along with cut backs and downsizings, has alienated many people turning businesses into hostile, stressful and less caring places to work. Many people have felt betrayed and distrust runs rampant. These changes have affected men and women differently. Her research is important and worthy of further examination.

She compared the dissimilarities between top earning male and female executives. They are strikingly different. Financial rewards are less important to women while respect and recognition are more important. Failure to understand these differences will lead to higher turnover rates among senior level women. Hewlett also notes the flight risk among top female executives is twice as high as men. Any business that cannot attract and retain female brain power faces major consequences. Here is a list of what top performing female executives want from their work environment.

1. Association with people they respect–82%
2. Be themselves at work–79%
3. Flexible work arrangements–64%
4. Collaborate with others and be part of a team–61%
5. Give back to society through the work they do–56%
6. Recognition–51%
7. Financial rewards–42%


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