Hybrid working may hold back women’s careers, say managers
The shift towards hybrid working could be holding back women’s career progression, as research suggests employers are overlooking people who spend more time working from home.
Experts have raised concerns that the post-Covid return to work is entrenching the gender pay and promotion gap, with employers failing to monitor its impact or properly design jobs for hybrid and remote working.
This especially affects women, who are more likely to choose flexible hours or work from home for childcare reasons. Male managers are significantly more likely to mostly or completely work from the office (48% v 38%), according to a survey of 1,300 managers from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
Two in five (40%) managers surveyed said they had already observed opinion or behaviours suggesting an inequality between those who work flexibly and those who do not. Female managers were more likely than their male counterparts to believe hybrid working could negatively affect career progression.
Anthony Painter, the director of policy at the CMI, said: “Women could end up in a lose-lose situation if employers aren’t careful, needing to balance work and home life through flexible working but missing out on many opportunities that arise through in-person office interaction. That is intolerable and damaging for women and employers alike.”
The CMI’s findings were echoed in a recent Deloitte Women at Work report, which found 60% of female hybrid workers felt they had been excluded from meetings, while almost half worried that they did not get the exposure to leaders necessary for career progression.
Female hybrid workers reported more instances of being excluded from informal but important interactions and conversations, being given opportunities to speak in meetings, and having colleagues take credit for their ideas.