What do women want (in a workplace)?

The problem 

What do women want? The Independent Women’s Forum commissioned Evolving Strategies to implement a Causal Conjoint Optimization (C2O) to discover what matters to women in a workplace— and what attracts female job candidates to and retains female employees at a company. 

How much do women value salary, bonuses, or raises? Compared to vacation and sick days, medical leave, healthcare or telecommuting? And what about gender equality —  does it matter whether their supervisor is a man or woman, whether there are many female executives or few? And what about economic equality — does it matter whether the CEO makes 10x or 1,000x what the lowest paid employee does?

Our Causal Conjoint Optimization (C2O) tells employers what causes women to love or hate where they work — and how to recruit and retain female talent. 

(See full report here, and the explore the research with a data app here.)

What’s different about C2O

Conjoint analysis is a core research approach in marketing which discovers what the optimum combination of features is for a product or policy— or in this case — workplace. 

But Evolving Strategies’s new tool — Causal Conjoint Optimization (C2O) — takes this core marketing approach and elevates it to a new level, discovering not only which features correlate with the best combination of a product or policy, or workplace, but which features causeit. 

Which features of a workplace cause women to love or hate where they work? C2O quantifies exactly how much a particular job feature impacts the probability that women will choose one job over another, or how fair they think the workplace is.

Overview of the results

When we look at what really matters to women choosing a job, the results make a lot of intuitive sense. 

And in the differences between mothers of younger children and ideological differences, we see distinctive aspects of a workplace environment jump out.

Salary is of course the dominant attribute, but the impact of other job features is often surprisingly large.

General job flexibility is highly valued by women; offering a combination of flexible schedules, telecommuting, and reduced hours is about equivalent to offering 10 paid vacation and sick days or between $5,000 to $10,000 in extra salary.

Paid family and medical leave is a relatively small concern.

Signals of company character — such as CEO pay, bonuses and raises, and the percentage of female executives — have a large collective impact.

Mothers with young children value workplace flexibility and paid sick & vacation days much more than non-mothers.

Women without young children value salary and raises far more than do mothers.

Liberal women prefer jobs with a female supervisor and value salary, paid vacation and sick days, and generous family medical leave policies far more than do conservatives.

Conservative women hold to type, with the average employee’s tenure and healthcare package much more important to their job choice; a relatively secure and stable job prospect is very attractive to them.

Ratings of workplace fairness closely track job choice effects.

Evolving Strategies

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