Burnout is on the rise, as are incidents of microaggression, both of which impact engagement and career progression
A global survey of women at work, published by Deloitte, has gathered views to better understand how women’s experiences in the workplace impact their engagement and career prospects.
The findings of Women @ Work 2022 have pointed to a worrying long-term impact, with many women burned out and experiencing mental health challenges, yet feeling uncomfortable about sharing their views with their employer.
Harassment and microaggressions at work are also on the rise and often go unreported due to fear of reprisals from speaking up.
Women face burnout
More than half (53 per cent) of respondents said they are more stressed than a year ago, and almost half (46 per cent) report feeling burned out. Only 43 per cent feel comfortable talking about mental health challenges, while 44 per cent say they get adequate support.
Which of the following statements are true for you?
53 per cent – My stress levels are higher than they were a year ago
46 per cent – I feel burned out
44 per cent – I get adequate mental health support from my employer
43 per cent – I feel comfortable talking about mental health in the workplace
39 per cent – I feel comfortable disclosing mental health challenges as the reason for my absence
33 per cent – I have taken time off from work due to challenges with my mental health
When asked about their ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance, 47 per cent said that work took priority while 34 per cent rated their ability to switch off from work as poor or extremely poor. Of those women unable to switch off, 42 per cent worried that their career progression will be affected if they aren’t constantly available.
How would you rate your ability to switch off from work?
34 per cent – Poor or extremely poor
20 per cent – Neither poor nor good
45 per cent – Good or very good
How would you rate your work–life balance?
47 per cent – Poor or extremely poor
20 per cent – Neither poor nor good
39 per cent – Good or very good
Increase in non-inclusive behaviours
The majority of women (59 per cent) have experienced harassment (such as unwanted physical advances or repeated disparaging comments) and/or microaggressions (such as being interrupted or talked over, or being patronised) over the past year at work, representing an increase on the previous year’s report.
Have you experienced non-inclusive behaviours at work in the past 12 months?
59 per cent – Yes
39 per cent – No
2 per cent – Prefer not to answer
52 per cent – Yes
42 per cent – No
6 per cent – Prefer not to answer
Only 31 per cent of these behaviours are reported, with harassment more likely to be reported compared with microaggressions (66 per cent vs 23 per cent). The lack of reporting is largely down to fear of reprisals for speaking up: 93 per cent believe reporting non-inclusive behaviours will negatively impact their career; most feel that employers won’t take action even if they do report these behaviours.
Focus on misalignment
The report concludes that with burnout becoming the top reason why women want to leave their jobs, employers need to focus on why there is misalignment between an individual’s expectations and reality. Education and practical tools, along with an appreciation of workload and recognition, are key in addressing the mental health challenges women experience in the workplace.
Companies also need to instil an inclusive and respectful culture where women feel able to report non-inclusive behaviours without judgment. Failure to address concerns can undermine organisations’ gender-equality ambitions.
Global views: For its Women @ Work 2022 report, Deloitte sought the views of 5,000 women across 10 countries and sectors between November 2021 and February 2022.
Countries surveyed: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, UK and US.
Source: ACCA Accounting and Business magazine