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More Engagement the Solution for Gender Gap in Organizations: BCG


DECEMBER 06, 2016

Jakarta. Organizations around the world with high employee engagement are found to be tackling the gender gap, according to global research firm Boston Consulting Group.

In a report published in October, BCG surveyed approximately 345,000 nonmanagers, junior managers and senior managers, to dig deep into employee engagement and job satisfaction in 2014.

BCG's report titled "The Rewards of an Engaged Female Workforce" found that female workers are less engaged compared to their male counterparts.

"When companies don't get engagement right, senior-level women feel the pain disproportionately," BCG wrote in the report.

It also found that senior-level women feel less appreciated for their work, and their opinions less heard, compared to their male peers, despite appreciation being cited as the top criterion for both genders.

Both women and men list work-life balance as the second-most important factor in the report, but an imbalance of support was found between the female and male sections of the workforce.

"As men rise in seniority, they report more support from their colleagues for their non-work obligations, while women report the opposite," BCG stated.

In the social aspect of employee engagement and satisfaction, peer-to-peer relations and mentorship are found to be less prominent in women, as they reported lower levels of trust in their own departments, as well as in their managers.

Men are found to have an increasing amount of assistance as they climb the career ladder, while scores for women remain flat.

The report also found that equal pay is still an issue for companies with low employee engagement levels, despite women and men having the same mindset that pay correlates with performance.

"Men's scores on the topic of 'teams that perform well are recognized for it' rise three times as fast with seniority as women's do," the report writes.

As BCG cites employee engagement as a critical indicator of a company's success, it has urged companies to explore comprehensively the causes of disengagement, especially in women.

"In some companies, we have seen a vicious cycle in which women's skills and opinions are not used sufficiently, leading them to disengage," BCG said. "Other companies have found that they are not active enough in promoting women based on their potential."

Revising performance assessment, fostering peer-to-peer connections and accountability were suggested as possible solutions to implement to improve work environments for both men and women.

This includes providing flexible work models for employees at all levels and establishing a flexible performance management system to allow employees to build their careers.

"Senior-level women want to be paid well, enjoy their work, feel connected, express their opinions and see that senior executives are living up to the company's values," BCG added.

The firm explained that improving these factors for all employees will help increase the success and happiness of women in senior management positions.