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Deloitte Checks in on Women at Work, the Results Aren’t Good

business woman working, stressed out

Deloitte released its fourth annual Women @ Work report today and things are so bad for women they couldn’t even spin it for the press release’s title:

Deloitte’s Women @ Work report shows stagnating progress in and outside the workplace for women

Your report takeaways from the survey of 5,000 women in 10 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States) are:

  • Half of women say their stress levels have increased since last year, and despite some progress, they are still not receiving adequate mental health support in the workplace
  • Women’s disproportionate share of domestic responsibilities, including a sharp rise in those caring for another adult, is taking a toll on their careers and mental health
  • Nearly half of women are concerned about their personal safety at work or while traveling to or for work
  • Many women who experience challenges related to menstrual disorders, fertility, and even more so for menopause, feel unable to seek support or take time off from work
  • Experiences with hybrid work are improving, but some women say they have made adjustments to their work and personal lives following return-to-office policies

“Despite a small number of improvements since last year, our survey tells us that women are facing mounting pressures in the workplace, their personal lives, and in their communities,” says Emma Codd, Global Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Deloitte. “Globally, women feel their rights are backsliding, they are experiencing increased stress and taking on the majority of household tasks at home. Alongside this they are experiencing non-inclusive behaviors at work, are concerned for their safety and feel unable to disclose when they are experiencing women’s health challenges. This is a situation that must change—and employers must enable this.”

Because Going Concern is a publication for accounting professionals, allow us to call special attention to this section.

Stress and long working hours take an increased toll on women’s mental health

Half of women say their stress levels are higher than they were a year ago and a similar number say they’re concerned or very concerned about their mental health. Mental health is a top three concern for women globally (48%), falling behind only their financial security (51%) and rights (50%).

There are a number of potential factors behind declining mental health levels, but among them is an inability to disconnect from work. The survey findings show a link between working hours and mental health: While half of women who typically just work their contracted hours describe their mental health as good, this declines to 23% for those who regularly work extra hours. Only 37% of women say they feel able to switch off from their work.

Despite these concerning findings, more than half of women say they aren’t receiving adequate mental health support from employers, and two-thirds of women don’t feel comfortable talking about their mental health in the workplace. Though this highlights a need for significant improvement, it does show progress from last year’s findings when even more women said they did not receive adequate mental health support from their employer and did not feel comfortable speaking about mental health in the workplace.

It’s no wonder women are stressed out and having trouble turning off. Because…

Women are feeling the weight of misbalanced caregiving and domestic responsibilities. Notably, 50% of women who live with a partner and have children say they take the most responsibility for childcare—up from 46% in 2023, with only 12% saying this falls to their partner. Further, 57% of women who live with a partner and are involved in care of another adult say they take the greatest responsibility for this—up from 44% in 2023, while only 5% say this responsibility falls to their partner. Meanwhile, more than two in five women bear the most responsibility for cleaning and other domestic tasks, similar to 2023. These pressures are taking a toll: women who take on the greatest share of household responsibilities are far less likely to say they have good mental health than those who do not. And nearly half say they have taken time off work for mental health reasons in the past year, compared with just under a quarter of women who don’t have the greatest responsibilities for these tasks.

The result of this disproportionate allocation of responsibilities makes it more challenging for women professionally—only 27% of women who bear the greatest responsibility at home say they can disconnect from their personal life and focus on their careers.

Worse, the report showed that women feel even less supported by their employers than last year. One in ten of them feel they can talk openly at work about work/life balance and almost ALL of them (95 percent) feel that requesting or taking advantage of flexible working opportunities will affect their likelihood of promotion. And if they do speak up to ask for flexible work options, 93 percent of respondents don’t think their workload would be adjusted accordingly.

It’s not looking good, y’all.

4 thoughts on “Deloitte Checks in on Women at Work, the Results Aren’t Good

  1. On a side note, I heard so many men say last year that the Barbie movie was about 10-20 years too late, because women have so much more equity and equality now than they did back then. I don’t know why I thought of this when I read the article above.

    1. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally abused and bullied in the workplace for years. I asked for help, stood up for myself and was labeled a problem for it. Despite being a top performer with no negative actions I was constantly passed over for promotions and opportunities. When diagnosed with a crippling illness I was discriminated against and expected to work from my hospital bed. Yeah, it’s not good. Thank you Jesus, I was medically retired.

  2. “Notably, 50% of women who live with a partner and have children say they take the most responsibility for childcare—up from 46% in 2023, with only 12% saying this falls to their partner.”
    Does this mean the other 38% have a nanny?

    “Meanwhile, more than two in five women bear the most responsibility for cleaning and other domestic tasks, similar to 2023”

    Does this mean that 60% of men bear the most responsibility? Or do these people have maids and butlers?

  3. Work sucks, always has sucked, and always will suck. Why women wanted into the workspace so bad is truly a head scratcher.

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