As International Women’s Day 2023 approaches, HiBob has once again demonstrated its commitment to celebrating this important event. Continuing our tradition, HiBob commissioned an online national survey in honor of the significance of this special day. Conducted in January 2023, it comprises responses from 2,000 full-time female and male professionals aged 25 and older who worked in a hybrid or in-office workplace in 2021 and 2022. It looks at how women (54%) and men (46%) respondents view gender issues in the workplace with breakdowns by company size, role, profession, and age group.
This report offers valuable insights into the perceptions and experiences of professional women regarding several gender-related issues, including compensation, promotions, salary, and work-life balance. It also explores men’s perceptions of women in the workplace to comprehensively examine the numerous challenges and opportunities women face in the modern workplace.
- Women are less worried about being let go in the current downturn than men.
- Women are promoted less frequently and receive fewer benefits than men.
- More men than women believe that women and men are paid equally for the same role at their company, and that pay transparency is not impacting the differences yet.
- More women stayed at their jobs in 2022 than in 2021.
- Women are mostly motivated to come into the office due to company mandates and less by preference.
- Women are equally as confident as men in their ability to perform their roles well.
1. Women are less worried about being let go in the current downturn than men.
Many women are concerned about the economic downturn’s potential impact on their career advancement opportunities—see more about that below in the findings section. However, fewer women than men are worried that they may lose their job due to the downturn, and neither gender feels the economic situation is causing more pressure for them to come into the office.
2. Women were promoted less frequently and received fewer benefits than men.
Despite good news regarding pay—an equal percentage of women and men reported receiving pay raises in 2022—the same equality wasn’t seen across the board. Women were promoted less frequently (22% of women compared to 35% of men) and received fewer benefits (15% of women compared to 23% of men) than their male counterparts.
Women were given equal pay increases as men, and still, increased pay is the factor most likely to motivate women to transfer to a new job. Although nationwide statistics show that women earned less than men in 2022, among professional women, there is more equality when it comes to pay. In our survey, an equal percentage of women reported receiving pay increases in the past year as men—46% for both genders.
3. More men than women believe that women and men are paid equally for the same role at their company. In addition, pay transparency is not impacting the differences yet and not helping pay parity as of yet.
Overall only 58% of professionals believe that women and men are paid equally for the same role at their company. However, there is a discrepancy between genders. 68% of men believe that men and women are paid equally, compared to only 49% of women. Attempts have been made to improve gender equality through pay transparency regulations; however, progress has been slow. Only 35% of the respondents report that their organization publishes salary information and ranges for job descriptions, and 23% report that their organization does not report or publish any salary information at all. In addition, fewer women than men (31% compared to 41%) report transparency at their company, and more women report no transparency (27% vs. 18%).
4. More women stayed at their jobs in 2022 than in 2021
67% of women respondents said they did not leave their job in 2022, an increase from 60% in last year’s survey. This points to a decline in the Great Resignation and an increase in stability of the job market in the United States. It is that stability that women seem to prefer.
5. Women are mostly motivated to come into the office due to company mandates and less by preference.
Many companies offer flexible working options, including remote and hybrid work, post-pandemic. Hybrid work means that employees are still coming into the office or expected to come into the office, just not always for the same reasons. Our study showed that more women than men are inclined to come in if they are not required to.
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.
Promotions, advancement, and confidence
HiBob’s survey points to a clear difference in perceptions between women and men when it comes to equity in promotions and advancement opportunities. The majority of respondents of both genders believe that women and men are promoted equally, which is good news. But there is still a significant disparity between genders. Only 54% of women agreed that women are promoted equally within their company, compared to 69% of men. Conversely, 46% of women believed that women and men are not promoted equally, compared to 31% of men—a higher percentage than in HiBob’s 2022 study.
Age had a significant influence on the respondents’ perceptions. Respondents ages 25-44 were significantly more likely to believe that men and women are promoted equally than respondents aged 45-54.
The size of the company where respondents work impacted their perceptions, too. 64-67% of respondents in companies with 500-5000 employees believed that women and men are promoted equally, compared to 53% in companies with 100-500 employees.
There was variation in perception related to the roles the respondents hold as well. Respondents in marketing, sales, and legal roles were less likely to believe that women and men are promoted equally than respondents in other positions. Respondents in engineering/tech/development, finance, and accounting were most likely to believe that men and women are promoted equally.
Overall perception vs. actual personal experience
It’s not only an issue of perception but also a difference in what the respondents have experienced personally in the workplace. For example, 35% of men reported being promoted to a new position in the past year, whereas only 22% of women said the same. 23% of men reported receiving an increase in benefits compared to 15% of women, although the same percentage, 46%, reported receiving a pay increase. 24% of women also reported that they had not been promoted in terms of either pay, benefits, or position, compared to just 16% of men.
Regarding their expectations for 2023, women and men reported equal expectations of promotions. Additionally, equal percentages of women and men applied for a promotion or advancement in 2023.
The disparity in promotions can’t be explained by differences in confidence. The survey shows that professional women in the workplace in the US are equally as confident in their performance and their ability to do their job well as their male colleagues—84% for respondents of both genders.
This misalignment is also clear in perceptions of diversity initiatives. Similar percentages of women and men stated that their company already has balanced women/men leadership—31% of men and 30% of women. However, only 38% of women believe their company has made a visible commitment to developing more female leaders in 2022, compared to almost half (48%) of men surveyed.
Uncomfortable, gender-related questions in the workplace
When asked if a colleague has ever made you feel uncomfortable or less qualified in the workplace because of your gender there was a small discrepancy—fewer women, 32%, reported that they had been asked such a question compared to 36% of men.
Perceptions about pay
Our survey showed that women and men also feel differently about pay equity and transparency. Since statistics show that women earned an estimated 83 cents to every dollar men earned in 2022, that isn’t surprising. 68% of men surveyed feel women and men are paid equally at their company, but only 49% of women feel the same. Likewise, 42% of women thought that men and women were not paid equally, compared to only 24% of men.
One of the ways to minimize the pay gap and increase trust that people doing the same job with the same skills and credentials receive the same pay is through pay transparency. Without pay transparency, it is difficult to change perceptions and sometimes reality about pay inequality.
However, despite legislative movement for pay transparency across the US, almost twice as many women (27%) as men (18%) believe their organization is not making efforts to improve salary transparency. Only 45% of women reported that their organization publishes salary information for job descriptions and/or internal roles, compared to 60% of men.
Women are aware of the pay gap and are looking for ways to minimize it. When asked what would convince someone to move to a new role, 10% more women than men said a “pay increase.” Women were also more likely to be influenced by flexible work models—49% said that the offer of flexible work would convince them to move to a new job compared to 41% of men.
On the other hand, women were less likely to be enticed to change companies by guaranteed learning and development opportunities—24% compared to 29% of men. They were also less likely to be motivated by the company’s perceived growth and success than men.
Work-life balance and benefits
The workplace has changed in recent years due to the pandemic, offering more flexible, remote, and hybrid work options than were available in the past. However, our survey shows that women are more cynical about the future regarding work-life balance. Nearly twice as many women as men expect no change to their work-life balance in 2023, while 37% of men say they expect it to get much better or just “better.” That is despite the fact that more than half (51%) of total respondents said they do not feel more pressure to come into the office due to the current economic downturn.
Women and men also have different reasons for coming into the office. The top reason for men was “interaction with colleagues,” with “easier communication with managers and teams” as their second priority. Women ranked “office mandates” first, with “interaction with colleagues” as their second reason for working from the office. Women are less likely to come into the office because they think it makes them more visible or more likely to receive promotions—only 40% of women were motivated by those factors compared to 59% of men.
Across the board, more men think that their companies offer family and women-specific benefits than women do. For example, 50% of men said that their companies offered extended paid maternity leave, compared to only 30% of women. 41% said their company offered shared or paternity leave, compared to only 32% of women. 35% said childcare was offered, compared to 21% of women. 23% said that time off, or flexible work arrangements were offered for menopause, compared to only 12% of women. In fact, 84% of men believe that their company offers some type of women-specific benefits, while only 56% of women believe the same. This may indicate that women’s perception of what constitutes a woman-specific benefit has changed over time.
There is some variation in the women-specific benefits offered according to company size. For example, larger companies with 500-5000 employees were much more likely to offer extended paid maternity leave than smaller companies—42-44% compared to 32-36%.
The economic situation’s impact on women in the workplace
The economic situation is cause for concern for professional women—42% of women are very concerned that the economic downturn will impact women’s promotions, compared to 34% of men.
However, women were less worried about being let go in the current downturn than men. 38% of women were not worried about being let go, compared to 30% of men. Only 19% of women were worried about being let go, compared to 29% of men.
The survey shows a mixed bag of conclusions regarding professional women in the workplace in the US in 2022.
There is definitely good news for women in 2022. The fact that an equal percentage of women and men reported receiving raises is a good sign. Fewer women left their jobs than in 2021, indicating more market stability. Plus, women are equally confident in their ability to do their job and less concerned about being let off in the current downturn than men.
On the other hand, the picture is not entirely rosy. First, fewer women reported receiving a promotion or more benefits than men. There are also clear differences in perception between women and men, with men believing that women receive more equitable promotions and more women-centered benefits than women do. Likewise, women are less likely to come into the office for their own benefit but rather do so more due to company mandates.