Gender diversity and equality in the workplace has become a huge talking point over the years. For decades, women have been fighting against a system that seems to be heavily weighted against them. Over the past few years, the world has made significant headway in closing that gap. However, it appears that the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has undone much of the progress that we have made.
According to HR experts from ADP, the issue cannot be simply solved with an increase in wages or flexibility, as the issue stems from deep within the system, far deeper than the employee life cycle. According to ADP’s annual People at work 2021: A Global Workforce View study, up to 46 percent of women in Singapore received a pay rise or bonus for taking on new roles and extra responsibilities during the pandemic, compared to 51 percent of men. However, only 24 percent of women were confident of finding another job with comparable pay compared to 33 percent of men.
ADP Asia Pacific’s Vice President of HR, Yvonne Teo also mentions that closing the gender wage gap between men and women is only a small part of the solution to a deeply rooted problem. “Having real-time, accurate, accessible and transparent payroll data is critically important. It means organizations can create greater visibility of the issue and establish a benchmark to monitor progress,” said Teo.
The study also reveals that 48 percent of women in Singapore feel noticed and recognized for their contributions at work, compared to 55 per cent of men. There are early indicators of the toll this can take on the workforce: higher turnover rates are projected for female employees, who expect to stay an average of 3.01 years in their organization, compared to 3.67 years for their male counterparts.
Teo also mentions that an employee’s perception of fairness plays a critical role in determining their sense of loyalty and motivation, both key factors that affect an organization’s productivity and retention rates. In a world where daily life is intimately intertwined with the internet, an organization’s reputation is constantly at risk if disgruntled employees finally reach their breaking point. Companies need to actively seek feedback from their workforce and take steps to ensure all members feel supported. Otherwise, unconscious biases can cause these issues to be neglected.
The gap in the projected employment term widens further when it comes to working parents. On average, working mothers surveyed by ADP expect to stay another 3.49 years in their organization, compared to 4.26 years for fathers.
While most working mothers and fathers feel empowered to take advantage of flexible work arrangements (61 percent and 57 percent, respectively), achieving work-life balance is still a challenge, and mothers feel greater pressure to juggle their roles as parents and employees. Of 2 working mothers, 70 percent feel they have had to make a compromise between their work, health
and family needs during the pandemic, compared to 64 per cent of fathers.