New research from company ratings and review platforms InHerSight and Kununu reveal just how differently men and women perceive several key workplace factors, including issues like management opportunities for women, female representation in top leadership, access to equal opportunities, parental leave policies, family growth support and mentorship opportunities.
While both men and women start their careers mostly optimistic about the opportunities for advancement and their respective representation in management and senior leadership, those perceptions shift drastically over time -- at least for women.
Men see things differently
The Gender Equality Survey polled 5,000 working professionals, 38 percent of whom were men and 62 percent of whom were women, in September and October 2016, with the goal of determining how men and women's workplace experiences differ. The results show that men don't accurately assess what women experience in the workplace and, as such, rate their companies' support for women significantly higher than women do, says Ursula Mead, CEO and founder of InHerSight.
"We wanted to gauge perception of how workplaces specifically support women, but not just from women. We know it's hard to see things from a perspective that's different from your own, and what we knew anecdotally was that men are very rarely asked about women's experiences in the workplace so it's very hard for them to see the challenges. But this backs that up with data -- that men have these blind spots when it comes to workplace equality," Mead says.
Can't get no satisfaction
Survey participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with a number of factors across past and present employers. Not surprisingly, men were more satisfied overall with 15 out of 16 workplace factors. The only area where they were less satisfied than women was with their paid time off, according to the results.
There are six major blind spots the survey revealed where men rate their companies' policies, culture and initiative higher than women do, including management opportunities for women, female representation in top leadership, access to equal opportunities, maternity leave policies, family growth support and mentorship programs, according to the research.
Overall, women place greater importance on work/life balance and compensation/benefits than men do; 80 percent of women say work/life balance is most important to them compared to 70 percent of men and 76 percent of women and just 68 percent of men rated compensation and benefits as "very important," according to the research.
What's more interesting, according to Mead, is that women's own perception of the equality of career and management opportunities available worsens as they advance in their career. Early career women and men are consistently satisfied with the equality of opportunity available to them -- in fact, women are slightly more satisfied; 43 percent to men's 42 percent, according to the research. But by the time women reach senior management level, only 27 percent say they are satisfied with the equality of opportunity available to them, compared to a fairly consistent 39 percent of men.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.