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CNBC|SurveyMonkey poll: Women at Work 2024

CNBC|SurveyMonkey poll: Women at Work 2024

Key findings:

  • Increased workload is the leading driver for a decline in work-life balance for women workers, while increased flexibility in work schedules do most to improve work life balance
  • Women of color and parents are especially concerned about career penalties when pursuing flexible work arrangements at their workplace
  • Besides increasing pay, women cite increased promotional opportunities and flexible work as the leading initiatives from their employers
  • Fewer remote or hybrid job opportunities is a hurdle for women jobseekers
  • A lack of work life balance is a key driver of turnover for women at work

One in five (20%) women in full- or part-time jobs say their work-life balance has worsened over the last year, while one in four (24%) report an improvement, and slightly more than half (55%) report no change. Among those who report a decline in work-life balance over the last year:

  • Half (51%) say it is due to increased workload
  • One in three (32%) say their work schedules have become less flexible
  • 32% also say that they have more personal and family commitments compared to the previous year

Among women workers who say work-life balance has gotten better for them over the last year, mostly due to increased flexibility: half (49%) say it is due to a more flexible work schedule, more than twice those who cite changing to a less demanding role (21%), decreased workload (20%), more remote work opportunities (19%), or having fewer personal or family commitments (17%).

Most women workers remain in their jobs because they enjoy their work (44%), but flexibility and work-life balance are also top reasons: one in three (32%) stay at their jobs due to work-life balance, while one in four (26%) stay due to having a flexible work arrangement (hybrid/remote work or flexible work hours). Less than one in four (23%) remain due to difficulties looking for another job, followed by 21% who remain due to health insurance from their job and 19% who stay for the salary.

Among women who work mostly or fully remote jobs, flexibility is the leading reason for remaining in their job: more than half (54%) of those working mostly or fully remote say working remotely or having flexible hours are the main reasons for staying, followed by 39% who enjoy their work, and 38% citing work-life balance. This is a similar trend among women workers who work an equal mix of in person and remote - 44% cite their flexible work arrangements, closely followed by 42% who say they enjoy their work.

Despite the impact of flexibility on work-life balance, women workers express concern about taking advantage of flexible work arrangements and its potential impact on advancing their careers: 44% women workers overall say they are ‘very or somewhat concerned’. Women working both in person and remote equally or mostly in person show equal levels of concern for taking advantage of opportunities that help increase flexibility (46% and 45%, respectively), while only 36% of remote workers express the same level of concern.

Women workers of color are more likely to feel like falling behind in their career if they were to pursue greater flexibility in their jobs: 36% of white women workers say they are ‘very or somewhat concerned’ about taking advantage of flexible work arrangements preventing them from achieving careers goals, compared to 59% of Asian women workers, 55% of Hispanic women workers, and 52% of Black women workers.

Women who have children under 18 also see higher levels of concern (50%) compared to those with children 18 years of older (40%) or those who have no children (42%).

One in three (31%) women workers have quit their jobs (9%), or seriously considered quitting their jobs (22%) within the last 12 months. Finding an opportunity with a better work life balance (40%) is the leading reason among those who quit their job within the last 12 months, followed by 36% who did not want to deal with the stress anymore, 32% who quit to advance their career, 32% who quit for a higher salary, and 21% who quit to find a job with more flexible work arrangements. 

Among those who considered quitting:

  • 47% wanted to find a job with a higher salary
  • 45% did not want to deal with the stress anymore
  • 41% wanted to find a new job with better work/life balance
  • 30% wanted to find a job that advances their career
  • 26% wanted to find a job with more flexibility

Women Gen Z and Millennial workers are much more likely than Gen X or Boomer workers to cite work life balance (54% and 47% vs. 36% and 21%) and increased flexibility (35% and 27% vs. 24% and 12%) as a reason for considering quitting.

Offering more opportunities for promotion and increased flexibility in work schedules or arrangements (remote/hybrid) are the single best actions employers can take to help women workers achieve their career goals:

  • One in five (19%) say the best way their organization could support them is to offer more promotional opportunities
  • 17% want a more flexible schedule or work arrangement
  • 12% want more opportunities for on the job training
  • 9% want financial support to go back to college/graduate school
  • 9% want student loan assistance
  • 6% want more child care benefits (14% among women workers with child under 18)
  • 6% want more mental health benefits
  • 5% want sponsorship or mentorship from senior employees

One in five (22%) women not working for pay currently are looking for work; among this group, 89% say it is ‘very or somewhat difficult’ looking for a job right now. Half (52%) cite an inability to find remote or hybrid job opportunities, ahead of employers not calling back (43%), low pay (32%), skill mismatch (29%), and a lack of jobs in their field (25%). 

Inability to find remote jobs is less of an emphasis for men when citing difficulty in looking for a job, rather pointing to a lack of responsiveness from employers (51%). One in three (34%) say looking for a job is difficult due to inability to find remote or hybrid job opportunities, comparable with low pay (33%), skills not matching what employers want (31%), and a lack of jobs in their field (27%).

Read more about our polling methodology here
Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below: