January 22, 2019
FTI Consulting and Washington, D.C.-based women’s leadership firm Mine The Gap released today the second installment of the firms’ research on gender dynamics in the workplace, which found significant differences, or “enthusiasm gaps,” in perspectives across genders and industries related to workplace priorities and initiatives aimed at improving gender balance across all career levels.
An “enthusiasm gap” refers to the difference between those who are active, vocal and passionate supporters of an effort and those who may be supporters but might not be motivated to take action. During election seasons, an “enthusiasm gap” measures those who are more likely to go out and vote for a candidate, compared to those who may be supportive but unlikely to make time to actually vote on election day. Tracking the intensity of sentiment is important to predict whether support will translate into actual results.
Commenting on the research, Elizabeth Alexander, a Senior Managing Director in the Strategic Communications segment at FTI Consulting and a crisis communications and gender inclusion specialist, said:
“It’s the ‘snow and rain test:’ who on Election Day is going to go out in the snow or rain to vote? Answer: Really enthusiastic voters. Who at work is going to expend political capital, do the hard work, take the time, make the arguments day in and out to make these gender balance initiatives a reality? Answer: Only leaders who are really enthusiastic about these issues. Business leaders are still overwhelmingly male. So while the data shows that men are supportive of these efforts, are they supportive enough? In other words, will they go out in the rain or snow for it?”
FTI Consulting and Mine The Gap surveyed nearly 6,000 professional women and men across the industries of technology, finance, legal, energy and healthcare. The research shows that there is an Enthusiasm Gap at Work, particularly between genders, as women professionals show more intensity and enthusiasm in their support for gender pay equity initiatives, flexible work schedules, improved family leave policies, more transparent processes for career advancement and blinded talent recruitment. These enthusiasm gaps at work demonstrate the challenges in motivating senior leaders, who statistically are more likely to be men, beyond mere support for an idea to actual policy change.
“Companies with a diverse workforce and management team boast better financial performance, more innovative products, more engaged employees and less litigation risk. Because corporate decision-makers still statistically tend to be men, a gender ‘enthusiasm gap’ for inclusive workplace policies means that ideas and initiatives to help keep a company viable and profitable in today’s world may be slow to start or stall altogether. That’s a dangerous vulnerability for companies looking to compete in the 21st century,” adds Alexander.
Additionally, this research is particularly instructive as companies embark on the annual review season and begin to consider workplace changes to keep current with the needs of today’s professionals. The data demonstrates that both women and men place high value and importance on workplaces that offer competitive pay, control over one’s work schedule, engaged supervisors who provide constructive and timely feedback, work-from-home opportunities, freedom to disconnect during paid-time-off and the ability to care for sick relatives when needed.
To read more about and download the research, please visit Gender.FTICommunications.com.