As we once again mark International Women’s Day 2024, it’s an opportune moment to assess the progress made in advancing gender equality in the workplace. In this third edition of our US Women Professionals in the Workplace report, HiBob presents key insights into the current state of affairs. Amid a year highlighted by a McKinsey report that shows women are as ambitious as ever, our findings unveil emerging trends and changes since our last assessment. This report serves as a useful resource to understand the evolving landscape and contribute to ongoing conversations about the professional experiences of women.

HiBob conducted its annual Women Professionals in the Workplace study in January 2024. It  analyzes responses from 2,000 full-time female (54%) and male (46%) professionals aged 25 and older who worked in a hybrid or in-office workplace in 2023 to explore their views of gender related issues in the workplace that are impacting women.

This study offers valuable insights into the experiences of professional women as perceived both by men and women regarding several gender-related issues, including compensation, promotions, salary, and work-life balance to comprehensively examine the numerous challenges and opportunities women face in the modern workplace.

Key Takeaways

  • Perceived gender gaps in pay and promotion diverge from the actual workplace reality
  • Women express lower confidence levels around taking time off
  • A ‘Big Stay’ trend for men and women in 2024, united by priorities of pay, flexibility, and job security
  • Women lean towards 5-day work-from-home model for optimal Work-Life balance
  • Women encounter ongoing challenges in terms of inclusivity and credibility at leadership level

1. Perceived gender gaps in pay and promotion diverge from the actual workplace reality

Despite companies professing equal opportunities, a conspicuous divergence in the perception of pay and promotions between genders persists within corporate America. An overwhelming 80% of men espouse the belief in parity in promotion opportunities for both genders, a sentiment shared by only 61% of women.

Conversely, twice as many women (35%) feel that men are promoted more frequently than women compared to men (16%).

The data further reveals a discrepancy in the tangible outcomes of promotions. More men (38%) received promotions with pay increases in 2023 compared to 32% of women, though this is an increase for women of 22% in 2022. Additionally, a significant gap emerges in the realm of benefits, with 17% of men experiencing increases, more than double the 8% of women similar to results in 2022 which showed 15% of women compared to 23% of men received increases in benefits.

Women also have to defer aspirations, as 12% report not being promoted but anticipate something in 2024, compared to the 8% of men in similar situations. The struggle for recognition and advancement becomes even more apparent as twice as many women than men did not receive any promotion in 2023 and do not anticipate one in 2024. These findings underscore not only the perceptual disparities between genders but also the tangible challenges and inequities experienced by women in corporate America.

Furthermore, 82% of respondents affirm that their organizations do not disclose salary information, perpetuating opacity.

Alarmingly, 22% of women perceive bias against working mothers in promotional processes. This gendered narrative extends to salary perceptions, with 34% of women believing men receive higher compensation for equivalent roles, while 82% of men contend that pay is equitably distributed.

These findings emphasize the need for organizations to address both perceived and real gender disparities to create a more fair and inclusive workplace. Prioritizing fairness, equity, and transparency in pay structures not only aligns with evolving employee expectations but is also crucial for attracting and retaining talent, contributing to overall organizational success.

2. Men and women share desires for enhanced paid time off, yet women express lower confidence in taking time off

This year’s cohort advocated for enhanced time off and improved parental leave policies, even ranking these priorities higher than improved health coverage and more flexible work schedules. The survey indicates that 18% of respondents are eager for more paid time off, while 16% prioritize better health coverage, and 15% seek a more flexible work schedule.

A respectable 60% of women say that their organizations actively encourage employees to take the full time given off for parental leave but compared to 75% of men this may indicate women may feel under more pressure not to take as much time off for maternity leave.

These findings highlight the changing expectations of the workforce, placing a growing emphasis on benefits. Organizations must address gender-specific short falls in offering and encouraging the uptake of specific benefits designed to level the playing field.

3. A ‘Big Stay’ trend for men and women in 2024, united by priorities of pay, flexibility, and job security

In the professional landscape, confidence plays a pivotal role, and it’s intriguing to explore the gender dynamics at play. Both men and women exhibit high levels of confidence in their performance, with 73% of men and 65% of women expressing assurance in their abilities – a significant drop from 2022 where levels of confidence for women were at 86%.

This confidence spectrum becomes particularly interesting when examining career intentions. Despite potential concerns, a significant 81% of all respondents have no plans to leave their current roles, indicating a “big stay” trend in 2024.  In 2022 only 67% of women cited intention to stay in their roles.

However, when exploring the factors that could tempt individuals to consider leaving, men and women align on their top three priorities of an increase in pay followed by the desire for more flexible work arrangements, and in third place enhanced job security.

These results prompt reflection on the intricate relationship between confidence, career choices, and the evolving priorities that shape professional journeys.

4. Women more inclined towards work-from-home model in a bid for flexibility and better work-life balance

When it comes to preferred work models and anticipated work-life balances in the coming year, the collective aspirations converge around three main models. The most popular choice overall is: 5 days in the office (32%) followed by a 5-day at-will hybrid (27%), and in third place with 24% 5 days from home.

However, within this shared vision, there are some clear distinctions shaping preferences between genders. Men gravitate towards the familiarity and camaraderie of 5 days in the office (38%), emphasizing the importance of face-to-face interactions and the established routine of an office environment while women carve out a distinctive path, showing a significant inclination towards a 5-day work-from-home model (31%). 

In fact, twice as many women than men prefer a full remote work model which speaks to a desire for flexibility and a personalized approach to balancing professional and personal spheres.

For men, the mandate of face-to-face interactions (17%), and the need to delineate work-from-home life (13%) top the list. Women, too, value mandated face-to-face interactions (18%) and also highlight the imperative of creating a clear boundary between their work and home environments but they also felt more obliged than men to be present with18% citing (down from 40% in 2022 )they went because it was required compared to men (14%).

Amidst these choices, a small but notable deviation emerges when contemplating expectations for work-life balance in 2024. While a majority of men (57%) anticipate an improvement in their work-life equilibrium compared to 47% of women, slightly more women (8%) than men (6%) believe it will be worse though overall only a small group of the total respondents (7%) state this. In this evolving narrative of work preferences and future expectations, the dialogue between men and women paints a vibrant picture of a workforce navigating a landscape defined by diversity, adaptability, and the quest for an optimal work-life synthesis.

5. Women perceive a lack of commitment from their companies in fostering their leadership development

In understanding how companies showcase their commitment to gender equality and women’s progress, distinct patterns emerge in perceptions. For men, the connection lies in the overall organizational culture, with 16% highlighting this link. Conversely, women place more importance on daily visibility, as 17% consider it a crucial factor. Notably, 21% of women feel their companies lack a specific allegiance to women, suggesting a need for more focused initiatives in this regard.

As to the question of whether their companies have shown visible commitments to developing women leaders in 2023, men and women again have different views. Nearly double the number of women (29%) compared to men (15%) don’t believe their companies are visibly committed. On the other hand, more men (53%) than women (38%) feel that their companies are making visible efforts to develop women leaders.

Digging deeper into the personal experiences of employees, a concerning trend emerges. Despite the progress made, 22% of women report having felt less qualified due to their gender, a sentiment shared by 15% of men. This discrepancy is accompanied by a noteworthy difference in the frequency of these experiences, with 43% of women encountering such feelings every few months, compared to 33% of men.

These findings underscore the persistent challenges that women face in the professional realm, urging a continued focus on supporting and building inclusive environments that work towards dismantling barriers to gender equality.

6. Women are equally as confident as their male counterparts in their ability to perform their roles well. 

Women in the US feel confident in their performance. 86% of women surveyed reported feeling very or mostly confident, a similar percentage to male respondents. 


 The findings underscore the persistent disparities faced by US women in the professional realm, highlighting evident discrimination in what they are paid, how often they get promoted, and the value of the benefits they received, compared to their male counterparts. 

Professional women working in the US continue to encounter challenges that impede their progress, indicating a concerning lack of commitment to their leadership development. The expectations around traditional work models, demanding physical presence in the office, may contribute to these issues, particularly for those seeking more flexibility or a fully remote work model. Despite these challenges, the majority of women opt to stay in their current roles, deferring their aspirations in the hope for positive changes in the coming year. The data strongly suggests that concerted efforts are needed to rectify the imbalances and create a more equitable environment for women professionals in corporate America.