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Is hybrid working hampering women’s career goals?

The Gen X women workforce strongly believed that their career progression has suffered because of hybrid working styles.

Is hybrid working hampering women’s career goals?
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Amidst the pandemic, varied working styles have been tried, tested, and welcomed by employees and employers. But all doesn’t seem hunky dory.

A recent survey by global management consulting firm Kearney claimed that six out of 10 women expressed concern that a hybrid working style has lowered their chances for career progression. 

When compared to millennials (52%) and Gen Z (47%) women in the workforce, Gen X (100%) expressed this opinion strongly. The survey was conducted taking several factors affecting women in the workplace into account, including employer support of career ambitions, adoption of hybrid working, and diversity, equity and inclusion imperatives set by organizations. 

“There is still a perception that women must be visible, work harder, and provide more evidence of their competence than men to progress in their careers, particularly to move into leadership positions. A gender split in the take-up of hybrid working can hinder the benefits we expect,” says Isabel Neiva, Lead Partner of Transactions and Transformation practice at Kearney Middle East. 

While the Kearney survey revealed a genuine concern among women on career progression and hybrid working, respondents also reported high levels of motivation (64%), productivity (62%), and inclusion (62%). Most respondents are welcoming of the changing scenario where equitable opportunities and a robust support system have become a pleasant reality. 

“Encouraging women to play a more significant role is bound to boost economic diversification and ultimately concretize UAE’s efforts towards UNSDG 5 on gender equality. New working structures and models can level the playfield by bringing more women to the workforce,” Neiva added. 

While many are finding the new frameworks supportive, one might wonder why a significant portion of the female workforce is finding obstacles in progression. Organizations can help by having an integrated strategy to promote diversity and inclusion and eliminate bias in all of their working models. A few crucial factors to consider include having the appropriate policies in place, complemented by fit-for-purpose programmes, such as regular training to upskill their female employees, and adequate workplace conditions, without forgetting communication.

“All the evidence points to the fact that increasing women’s economic participation in GCC countries is not only possible, but it is also well within the region’s grasp. For those who are bold enough, the rewards are there for the taking,” Isabel added.

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