Give and take

Flexible work arrangements help women succeed, but thwart men, study finds

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According to new Australian research, while flexible working arrangements are a boon to women, making them more likely to succeed and get promoted, men with similar arrangements feel judged, discouraged and believe it jeopardizes their career. The joint study by Bain & Company and Chief Executive Women surveyed 1,030 employees about their flexible work arrangements (meaning: being able to work part-time, work from home, set your own hours and taking leave) and found that results differed wildly for men and women. Women who used these flexible arrangements were more confident about being promoted and committed to their careers than men who did. Moreover, men asking for these kinds of arrangements were twice as likely to be rejected.

The reasons for wanting to work flexibly are the same for both genders: taking care of children or an elderly parent, and wanting a better work-life balance. “This suggests that organisations have not yet cracked the code on how to make such arrangements work for male employees,” the report states.  “Just as women had to explode the myth they’re less ambitious, men are now experiencing judgments that need to be dispelled,” said Meredith Hellicar, one of the authors of the report. Jesse Olsen, a workplace practices and diversity management expert with the University of Melbourne, told The Guardian that this is an aspect that is often overlooked in the discussion about getting more women in the workplace. “A critical component of that is allowing men to get back into the home. If we want women to enter the workplace more and equal numbers of men and women, we have to make it easier for men to take on caregiving at home.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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