72% working women in India reject roles that don’t allow for flexible working
India, April 17, 2022: Online professional network, LinkedIn, has launched its latest consumer research based on 2,266 respondents in India to uncover the challenges faced by women at work, and spotlight opportunities for employers to help break biases that are holding women back.
The research finds that poor employer sentiment towards flexible working and career breaks is holding women back from asking for greater flexibility and re-entering the workforce. In fact, India’s working women are quitting or considering quitting their jobs in 2022 as pay cuts, bias, and exclusion become their penalties for working flexibly.
LinkedIn’s research shows that following the impact of the pandemic, 8 in 10 (83%) of working women have realised they want to work more flexibly. In fact the survey finds that 72% of working women are rejecting job roles that don’t allow them to work flexibly, while 70% have already quit or considered quitting their jobs because they weren’t offered the right flexible policies. When asked about the benefits of flexible working, around 2 in 5 women said it improves their work-life balance (43%) and helps them progress their careers (43%), while 1 in 3 said it improves their mental health (34%) and increases their likelihood of staying in their current jobs (33%).
But due to strong employer bias, India’s working women are paying heavy penalties to work flexibly. 9 in 10 (88%) working women had to take a pay cut to work flexibly, 2 in 5 (37%) had their flexible working request denied, and 1 in 4 (27%) struggled to convince their bosses to accept their request. This has made women reluctant towards asking for greater flexibility because they fear exclusion, being held back from promotions, working overtime, taking pay cuts, and being treated unfavourably by their superiors.
Given the impending guilt and stigma around flexible policies, 1 in every 3 working women in India shies away from telling their clients (34%), colleagues (35%), and friends (33%) that they work flexibly.
As working women continue to juggle between personal commitments and career progress within rigid schedules, 4 in every 5 (78%) working women in India are taking career breaks to improve their well-being, plan career changes, and boost their confidence at work. With 9 in 10 working women using their time off to learn new hard and soft skills, career breaks are helping women to upskill and boost their employability in today’s tight job market.
But despite these benefits of sabbaticals, about 4 in every 5 (77%) working women in India who took a break say that it had actually set them back in their careers. This is due to the prevalent stigma associated with career breaks among recruiters and employers, which has made it difficult for every second (50%) working woman in India to explain their career break to recruiters. As a result, many choose to exclude career breaks from their CVs (42%) or lie about their breaks to potential recruiters when being interviewed (35%).
Forced to tiptoe about their career breaks, 80% of India’s working women wish for ways that would help them represent their career breaks more positively to hiring managers.
Says Ruchee Anand, Sr. Director, India, LinkedIn: "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."
LinkedIn has o 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.
LinkedIn is introducing ‘Career Breaks’, a new feature that allows members to add a career break to their LinkedIn Profile and stand out for the life experiences they’ve built during their time away and demonstrate how they can apply these learnings to roles they’re interested in.
To add a Career Break, members can go to the top of their Profile and select ‘Career Break’ in the drop down menu under “Add Section”. Members also have the option of adding ‘Add Career Break’ as part of the ‘Experience’ section of their LinkedIn Profile. Members will be able to choose from 13 different Title options under Career Break such as Full-Time Parenting, Health and Well-being, Caregiving, Layoff, Career Transition, Professional Development, and more.
By allowing members to share experiences outside of a traditional work environment, the new tool is empowering professionals to better communicate their unique experiences with connections and recruiters, ultimately helping them build strong professional communities with honest conversations at heart.
To help professionals navigate flexibility better, LinkedIn is unlocking 5 LinkedIn learning courses Returning to work with a resume gap, Preparing your family leave and return, Negotiating work flexibility, Becoming a male ally for women at work, and Inclusive female leadership from 12 April to 11 May, 2022.