What Women Want From Their Employers, in 5 Simple Charts

January 20, 2016, 8:30 AM UTC
Businesswoman using digital tablet in lobby
Photograph by Tom Merton—Getty Images/Caiaimage

What do women want? That’s a question for the ages. What do women want from their employers? That, on the other hand, is pretty easy to answer—so easy, in fact, that it can be summed up in five charts.

Today, the founders of Fairygodboss, an online community where women share information about current or former employers, presented findings from an analysis of 5,000 responses of female employees at an event during the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland.

“This [analysis] hones in specifically on the satisfaction metric,” explains Romy Newman, a co-founder of Fairygodboss. “We believe satisfaction is linked to retention, and so this goes to show that there is a real ROI for women’s initiatives,” she says.

Perhaps the most interesting of the findings is the link between how many weeks of maternity leave an employee takes and her job satisfaction. Two-thirds of women who take 12 or more weeks of leave are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. “This is such a strong statement in favor of leave,” says Newman.

While the other findings aren’t exactly shocking, they do illustrate the power of policies that value employees’s non-work commitments. A full 78% of women who believe they have a good level of work-life balance are extremely satisfied with their jobs, while 93% of women who have poor work-life balance are extremely unsatisfied.

Similarly, 83% of women who say they work in a family-friendly environment are extremely satisfied at their job.

In addition to policies that promote more time spent with family, women care deeply about gender equality in the workplace. Of the women who are extremely satisfied at work, 86% believe their employers provide equal opportunities for both men and women.

One major way employers can prove their commitment to gender equality is by promoting women into senior leadership: 80% of women who believe their workplace is fair to both genders also say that their company’s management structure is gender diverse.

Nearly half of these responses belonged to women between the ages of 25 and 34, and a third were by women who make between $50,000 and $100,000 per year, making it representative of just a small slice of the female demographic. However, Newman argues that even this is enough of an argument for policies that support women in the workplace.

“Companies might ask, ‘Are all these initiatives worth the money?’ Well, the answer is a resounding yes,” says Newman.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

LeadershipBroadsheetDiversity and InclusionCareersVenture Capital