India on the brink of ‘flexidus’ with many women quitting jobs due to lack of flexibility
A significant percentage of women in India are quitting or considering quitting their jobs this year as pay cuts, bias, and exclusion have become their penalties for working flexibly, says a LinkedIn report.
Leading online professional network LinkedIn, on Tuesday, launched its latest consumer research based on 2,266 respondents in India to uncover the challenges faced by women at work.
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.
LinkedIn's research shows that following the impact of the pandemic, 8 in 10 (83 per cent) of working women have realised they want to work more flexibly.
The research noted that 72 per cent of working women are rejecting job roles that don't allow them to work flexibly, while 70 per cent have already quit or considered quitting jobs because they were not 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 and helps them progress in their careers, while 1 in 3 said it improves their mental health and increases their likelihood of staying in their current jobs.
But due to strong employer bias, India's working women are paying heavy penalties to work flexibly, it said adding that 9 in 10 working women had to take a pay cut to work flexibly, 2 in 5 had their flexible working request denied, and 1 in 4 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, the research showed.
"Flexible working is the No. 1 priority today for all professionals, especially for working women. In fact, our research finds that India is on 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," said Ruchee Anand, Senior Director, India Talent & Learning Solutions, LinkedIn.
However, despite the benefits of sabbaticals, about 4 in every 5 (77 per cent) 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.
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 have built during their time away and demonstrate how they can apply these learnings to roles they are interested in.
"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," Anand said.