A survey *of HR and people management professionals reveal that delayed mentorship programs, along with childcare obstacles and postponed promotions, have disproportionately impacted women during the pandemic.
Findings from a recent survey of 500 HR and people management leaders, conducted in partnership with Censuswide, which found that workplace mentorship programs for women have been harder to sustain during the COVID-19 pandemic. While 68% of respondents said they do have female mentorship programs in place at their companies, 84% of those with programs feel that mentor relationships have been more difficult to maintain since the pandemic began, with more meetings taking place virtually.
The survey showed that the pandemic is taking a disproportionately large toll on women’s careers when compared to their male colleagues. For example, 79% of respondents have had female employees that have needed to take time off or reduce their hours to help with homeschooling and/or childcare due to COVID-19. This is compared to only 59% of respondents that said that they have male employees that have needed to do the same thing. In addition, 45% admitted that they think women with children are treated differently at their company.
“To maximize their odds of success, companies need to strive for having each and every employee fulfilled and motivated at work,” said Jack Altman, co-founder and CEO of Lattice. “The fact that many women, and especially those with children, are struggling at such a disproportionate rate during the pandemic is very disheartening. Even before COVID-19, women were more likely to reduce their working hours, leave the workforce for extended periods or stop work entirely to raise their children – and the pandemic has only exacerbated this issue.”
The survey also revealed that more than half (52%) of HR professionals have seen a decline in the number of people getting promoted – both men and women – since the pandemic began. Forty-two percent said that the rate of promotions stayed the same, suggesting that some businesses were trying to maintain their pre-pandemic plans, at least as far as career progression is concerned. However, the stagnation of promotions and reduced mentorship opportunities could make it even more difficult for women to eventually reach the executive ranks – and the lack of formal executive programs isn’t helping. Only 69% of respondents said that their company has a program in place to ensure that more women make it to the executive level.
“On the heels of COVID, we need company leaders to step up and help support women at their organizations any way they can – whether that’s through offering benefits tailored toward parents, clear paths to leadership roles, or a renewed focus on maintaining mentorship programs,” Altman continued. “The pandemic has a dramatic impact on women at work, and it’s going to take collective action to get back to where we were and beyond.”
*Survey by Lattice
Jack Altman is the author of the soon to be released book People Strategy: How to Invest in People and Make Culture Your Competitive Advantage