You’ve probably heard about some unusual company perks aimed at attracting and retaining female talent. Women have been promised fertility benefits, in-office manicures and massage, and even “flying nannies” for executives on the go. While these offers may sound innovative, our research shows that companies that stretch to imagine what women want are missing the mark.
At InHerSight, we asked more than 15,000 women to choose from a list of 14 factors what’s most important to them at work. Want to guess what women most want from a company? (Hint: It's not maternity leave.)
Here are the top three must-haves for working women:
Paid Time Off
The most attractive benefit for women is a good paid time-off package. Women want the ability to manage their own work-life balance without having to fit into specific life-stage definitions such as maternity or family leave.
Plain and simple: women want to be compensated well for the work they do. With Equal Pay Day right around the corner (April 12), we’ll all be reminded of the work that still needs to be done to achieve pay equity. But another important piece of the puzzle is making sure that women feel satisfied with the compensation they receive for the work they produce.
After Microsoft ’s recent GDC party misstep (to put it mildly), it’s good to remind everyone that our interactions with our colleagues and the social environments cultivated by companies have a huge impact on how we feel about our employer. And while we won’t name names here, from small companies to large, women are reporting that there’s still a lot of work to be done in this department, citing uncomfortable work environment, boys’ clubs, and more.
Benefits Less Likely to Delight
So, what so-called “female friendly” perks are least sought by women? On-site child care and lactation rooms are actually among the least sought-after perks. These types of benefits have a narrow appeal in large part because they fit just a small segment of the working women population.
Despite a well-documented need for more women at the tops of organizations, women-focused mentorship initiatives also rate low among desirable benefits. Perhaps that’s because, as our raters tell us, companies are doing a poor job of delivering such sponsorship programs.
Finally, company-organized social activities, such as happy hours, game rooms, and group outings also fall low on the wish list for women workers.
What Our Insights Tell Us
Perhaps these results are not so surprising after all.
Taken together, our data indicate that women are not looking for employers to answer their specific needs--whether for family-raising, socializing, or creating work-life balance. Rather, women seek companies that provide them with the choice, the flexibility--the tools--to fashion their own lives as they see fit.
And everyday, with every new piece of information that raters contribute at InHerSight.com, we take another step closer to both showing women where to find those sought-after tools and to showing companies how to improve workplaces for women. Join the effort — rate your company today!