The Female Quotient is a professional organization born at the intersection of the world’s most elite thought-leader conferences and the women attending those same conferences who are underrepresented, disconnected, and invisible.
In the years since their formation, The Female Quotient (The FQ) has steadily moved the needle for women’s representation at events like Davos, Cannes Lions, and SXSW…but there are still challenges in inequity, visibility, and top-led organizational strategies for closing gender gaps.
Surveying The State of Resilience
In late 2022, The FQ and Cisco partnered to investigate resilience among working women and the impact that technology has on that resilience at multiple career levels. 3,000 respondents in ten countries from women in entry, mid, and senior-level positions contributed to the results.
At the World Economic Forum (WEF) conference in January of 2023, Cisco and The FQ shared the survey outcomes and insights. Read on for the takeaways that should be top-of-mind for employees and employers alike who hope to develop and retain the best talent within the workplace.
Self-Reliance Is Key, Especially Among Working Moms
One-third of workers attribute their resilience to qualities like working in accordance with their personal values, confidence in who they are, maintaining positivity, a drive to grow and evolve, and their ability to face challenges regardless of difficulty.
To thrive in the workplace, nearly half of the respondents manage a balance between work and self-care. 42% of those surveyed specifically identify mental health as a top priority. Respondents maintain their personal health by actively budgeting time away from work. That time out includes committing to social activities outside the home (46%), regularly scheduling “me time” (40%), and maintaining their physical health (38%).
In particular, working moms and caregivers identified as more personally and professionally resilient. Despite the additional parenting responsibilities, 64% of caregivers say they feel more personally resilient compared to the non-parents surveyed at 61%.
Culture is Imperative
While half of employees surveyed report that they don’t feel resilient against the challenges innate for women in outdated workplaces, culture is a defining factor among those who feel secure as well as those looking for their next job.
31% of women intend to change jobs in the next 6 months, with workplace culture cited as primary drivers for seeking a new employer. For example, nearly half of that number feel that their careers are impeded because their workplaces do not provide opportunities to advance their careers. Additionally, more than a third report that their workplace culture doesn’t do enough to support their professional well-being (36%), while increasing their job stress by not respecting employees’ time (44%).
Alternatively, women not looking to change jobs point to culture as a key reason for staying with their current employers. Women who feel resilient in their positions consider that leaders who are respectful of their time are a big benefit. The ability to work flexibly within remote and hybrid-work models is equally important. Likewise, a collaborative company that brings colleagues together is one of the most appreciated cultural efforts cited by more than 50% of employees.
Career Success and Personal Resilience Grow in Parallel
Half of women surveyed indicate that they’re not satisfied with their professional lives, but that number skews lower with entry-level professionals. However, women in the workforce who have attained mid and senior-level roles are more likely to feel both more resilient (70%, 73% respectfully) and more satisfied (53%, 63% respectfully) with their professional careers.
Personal and Professional Resilience Go Hand-in-Hand
There’s a strong link between a person’s sense of stability both in and out of the office. When it comes to feeling successful, a full 86% of women who indicated they feel resilient in their personal lives also report they feel resilient in their professional lives, compared to 65% for the global average. 69% of who feel resilient personally also report feeling happy and content with their lives.
Resilience can be linked closely with job satisfaction, where 65% of women who indicate feeling resilient in their professional lives also report feeling satisfied with their professional lives overall (vs. 50% at the global level)
Technology is a double-edged sword for working women
Access to technology enables employees to easily stay organized and informed. But, with technology comes concerns about too much screen time and potential issues in data privacy.
More than half of the women surveyed said that technology makes both their personal and professional lives easier. They use technology to connect with friends and family, organize their schedules, accomplish everyday tasks and chores, and attend/host work meetings and events.
But technology reliance fosters anxiety. 37% of workers say they feel stressed when they’re away from their devices. Nearly double that number report that they feel too dependent on technology.
Data privacy is a concern, too. 4 in 10 working women worry about data privacy, and 6 in 10 feel it’s their own responsibility to protect their and their families' personal data. However, that same number say they share that responsibility with the companies who provide the technology.
A recent report from the U.N. sets the pace for closing the gender gap at 257 years before women reach equal pay in the workplace. Working women must stay resilient in the face of slow adoption, but the companies they work for bear the burden of action. Moving forward, successful companies will look at how they can instill confidence and enable personal/professional satisfaction while continuing to close the gaps for women in the workforce.
To find out more details of the results of The Resilience Reset, visit https://newsroom.cisco.com/c/dam/r/newsroom/en/us/assets/a/y2023/m01/The-Resilience-Reset.pdf