New research by leading hospitality company Hilton, has found 43% of working women would not feel confident asking their employer about flexible working. This is despite flexible working topping the most important things that women look for in a potential employer (62%), being valued above a high salary (54%) and holiday entitlement (51%).
Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, Hilton surveyed over 2,000 working women across industries to find that more than half (52%) think senior leaders should champion flexible working to encourage women to progress in their careers, with a better work-life balance (65%), more time to spend with family (46%), and benefits to mental health (40%) cited as the biggest positives that come with working flexibly.
In terms of barriers faced, almost one-third (31%) of women believe that their employer would not be understanding if they opted for a flexible working pattern and almost two-fifths (37%) think their salary will be impacted. Women also experience a lack of inspiring senior women, with more than a quarter (27%) saying they do not have a single senior woman that they consider to be a role model within their business.
To challenge the perception that only one-in-five (19%) women think that hospitality offers good opportunities for flexible working, the hospitality company has placed a spotlight on its female-led Hilton London Canary Wharf team. Over 50 talented women from Hilton were brought together to celebrate the hotel’s ongoing commitment to nurture female talent to build long and successful careers and to inspire more women to join the industry.
Stacey Boast, General Manager, Hilton London Canary Wharf, said: “For International Women’s Day 2020 we wanted to take the opportunity to remind people of the fantastic female talent we have in our industry and the diversity of roles across hospitality. Hospitality is a 24/7 industry and being able to choose a working pattern that suits is hugely beneficial to working women and men and it’s important that it isn’t seen as a barrier to progression.”
General Manager roles at Hilton allow for flexible working, home working is encouraged in many departments, and the 24/7 nature of hospitality allows Team Members to work flexible shift patterns. Hilton is a headline signatory of the Women in Hospitality charter and is working with other companies across the industry to find solutions to some of the industry’s challenges. Hilton was recognised by Great Place to Work last year as the #2 Best Place to Work for Women in the UK.
Commenting on the findings, Lizzie Benton, Culture Consultant and the Founder of Liberty Mind, said: “Flexible working has the ability to bring more women back into the workplace and we need to start being realistic that the traditional working hours are no longer fit for modern life. And who said eight hours was productive anyway? This research shows time and time again that flexible working supports more people in the workplace and provides a better work-life balance for those who are sole carers.”