Are we shaping history for inclusivity in today's workplace?
Employee Engagement

Are we shaping history for inclusivity in today's workplace?

March 8, 2023

Celebrated in Australia, the US, Canada and the UK, Women’s History Month is about recognising the contributions of women in history and the ongoing achievements of women all over the world.

This year, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the inroads that are continually being made by women and for women in a place very close to our hearts, the workplace.

So let's delve into some compelling statistics surrounding the employment participation of women in Australia and how it has shifted over time.

Take 1966 for example. At the age of 30 when you can imagine many women were in the throws of motherhood, the percentage of women employed sat at around 32%. This age has seen the most dramatic increase over the years and was officially recorded at 73% in 2020. The same goes for the age of 35, which recorded the highest employment percentage of 76% in 2020, up 15% from 20 years prior in 2000. This is particularly impressive when you consider the average maternal age for women was recorded at 30.9 years in 2020.

In fact, there seems to be little fluctuation between the ages in 2020. And we expect the percentage to be higher today with unemployment at an all-time low and flexible working models at an all-time high.

Female employment participation over the years

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021

How does female employment participation compare with their male counterparts?

Women account for almost half the working population at 47.4% (WGEA 2022) which seems positive, mission accomplished, right? Well not quite when you break it down a little further. Women made up just 26.3% of the full time working population in 2021 and 34.5% of key management positions.

Not to discount the women whom part time employment suits perfectly; be it for family, financial or social reasons. However common sentiment suggests that flexible working could create greater provisions for women to advance their careers in cases where certain barriers had previously existed.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, women are almost twice as likely to undertake caregiving responsibilities than men and spend an average of 5.5 hours per day completing domestic duties, almost double that of men. An ABS Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership survey released in 2021 found that around 35% of employed women took carer's leave, compared to around 25% of employed men.

Many workers - men and women - have remarked on how hybrid working and especially flexible working has allowed them to better juggle domestic duties and caregiving with work.

“By being able to put on a load of washing before a meeting or sharing the school drop off/pick up thanks to flexible hours, the domestic ‘load’ is already lightened or more easily distributed across a household. As a result, full time, or near full time employment, has become a much more tenable option for more primary caregivers in different stages of their careers.”

Anton Schiavello, Co-Founder of Nura Space

Promoting inclusion and equity with flexible working = attracting and retaining talent

During a time of skill shortages where the balance of power is shifting in favour of employees, employers are having to prove their worth as a desirable place to work.

A 2021 PWC report found that women were most steadfast on the need for flexible working arrangements with upwards of 55% of the whole of Gen-Z placing importance on this factor. Further to this, a Hays Report on Diversity and Inclusion found that 67% of female respondents said they would look for another job if flexible working was no longer offered.

However often the inclusion efforts in a flexible co-working space can fall over if not planned for properly with the right policies and tech in place.

The WGEA Flexibility Toolkit is designed to give employers practical steps on how to design and implement a flexible workplace policy and describes it as an ongoing evolution, rather than a one-off process. It categorises limited flexibility, basic flexibility and embedded flexibility in areas such as the employee experience, results management, and of course technology and infrastructure. Under ‘embedded flexibility’, flexible workers are able to access equipment and technology that effectively support their flexible working arrangement.

With cloud based platforms accessible for all regardless of physical location, the notion of ‘equal access to all resources’ has been prioritised as far as technology is concerned. Until recently however, little consideration had been given to the impact of on-site physical resources in co-working hybrid spaces.

Nura Space for tech-enabled inclusive workplaces

As a locker and desk booking platform, Nura Space has thought of it all whereby users can have the same access to on-site resources regardless of start and finishing times. In real terms, this means a parent doing the school drop off doesn’t have to worry about missing out on a suitable locker or workpoint (and soon a car space!) when they arrive to start their work day. Instead, all employees can book their workspace needs in advance and seamlessly plan office days around team and family needs.  

If you want to understand more about how Nura Space can help you meet your inclusivity objectives, reach out for a chat today. We are well versed in a range of workplace topics and have helped many companies make a positive impact on their culture and bottom line.


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