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72% of Indian women reject roles that do not allow flexibility: Report

According to the latest survey, women professionals in India are paying a high price for requesting workplace flexibility. A lack of a supportive work environment forces the majority of them – almost 72 percent – to decline employment opportunities, while flexible working frequently results in a wage decrease. As per the poll conducted by the professional networking site LinkedIn on Tuesday, at least 83 percent of working women have realised that they wish to work more freely.

‘In fact, 72 percent of working women are rejecting job roles that do not enable them to work flexibly, and 70 percent have previously departed or are considering quitting their employment because they were not provided the necessary flexible policies,’ LinkedIn said on March 12. When asked about the advantages of flexible working, roughly two out of every five women said it improves their work-life balance (43%) and helps them advance in their careers (43%), while one in three said it improves their mental health (34%), and increases their likelihood of staying in their current jobs (34%).

According to the survey, strong employer bias pushed nine out of ten (88 percent) working women to take a pay cut to work flexibly, nearly two in five (37 percent) had their flexible working request denied, and one in every four (27 percent) struggled to convince their bosses to accept their request.

‘This has made women hesitant to seek greater flexibility because they fear marginalization, being held back from promotions, working overtime, taking pay cuts, and being regarded unfavorably by their superiors,’ it stated. Given the looming shame and stigma associated with flexible policies, one in every three working women in India is hesitant to inform their clients (34%), colleagues (35%), and friends (33%), that they work flexibly.

‘Flexible working is the top priority for all professionals nowadays, especially working women. In fact, according to our study, India is on the verge of a flexus, with seven out of 10 working women resigning or considering quitting their employment owing to a lack of flexibility’, said Ruchee Anand, LinkedIn’s Senior Director of India Talent and Learning Solutions. ‘If firms and recruiters do not want to lose top talent, they must remove the stigma associated with the need for flexibility and career interruptions, as well as implement greater flexibility policies.’

Career pause
As working women continue to combine personal responsibilities and professional advancement under strict schedules, four out of every five (78 percent) working women in India are taking career breaks to enhance their well-being, plan career changes, and raise their confidence at work. With nine out of ten working women using their time off to gain new hard and soft skills, career breaks assist them to upskill and increase their employability in today’s competitive job market.

Despite these advantages, nearly four out of every five (77 percent) professional women in India who took a sabbatical report that it harmed their careers. This is owing to the widespread stigma associated with career breaks among recruiters and employers, making it difficult for every second (50 percent) working woman in India to justify her career break to recruiters.

As a result, according to LinkedIn analytics, many people prefer to omit career breaks from their CVs (42%) or lie about their breaks to potential employers when being interviewed (35%). Forced to keep their professional breaks a secret, 80 percent of India’s working women want ways to showcase their career breaks more favorably to recruiting managers, according to the site.


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