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What do the best companies for women look like?

Karenthia A. Barber, CEO and founder of Professional Development Associates LLC

Varying by each individual woman, there are a number of factors that make a business a great place for women to work. Some look for a good work/life balance. Others want a flexible schedule, mentoring and career advancement opportunities.

In December 2021, Comparably, a workplace culture and corporate brand reputation platform, released its Best Companies for Women list.

The rankings were determined by anonymous feedback from female employees at more than 70,000 companies over a 12-month period from Nov. 2020 to Nov. 2021. Women answered 50 questions in 16 core culture areas including compensation, career growth, leadership and work environment.

The top five companies in the large category were IBM, Experian, Adobe, HubSpot and Medallia. The small to medium category highest ranking were Gr0, The Hollister Group, Pipefy Civic Financial Services and Eargo. Employees reported several reasons why their employers were a great spot for women including a positive culture of empowerment, competitive salaries, family atmosphere and availability of Employee Resource Groups.

Karenthia A. Barber, CEO and founder of Professional Development Associates LLC notes “women place their greatest workplace values on relationships, respect, communication, fairness, equity, collaboration and work-family balance,” she said. “Thus, a company that fosters a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, provides growth opportunities and work-life balance is a great company for women.”

Men tend to look for different workplace attributes, according to Barber. They regard pay, benefits, authority, status and power noticeably more than women do.

According to a 2018 survey by job site website Glassdoor, men and women value employment attributes differently. Surveying more than 1,100 employed or actively pursuing employment adults, the data showed 47%t of women while only 39% of men valued a work-life balance. Nearly 50% of women versus 35% of men desired flexible work arrangements. Nearly 30% of men valued the company’s financial performance while only 23% of women showed concern for the numbers. Twenty percent of men also looked at a company’s investor page while doing research as opposed to only 13% of women using this tactic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many women had to leave the workforce due to child care and caretaker issues. The country has also seen a sizable labor shortage over the past year, but some women are returning to the workforce. Those companies who what to attract them will need to accommodate their needs.

“Research has found that gender diversity not only positively impacts productivity, employee retention and decision making but helps organizations meet the needs of today’s diverse clients, consumers, communities and stakeholders,” Baker said. “An added dimension of gender diversity ensures diversity of thought, perspective, creativity and innovation. Appealing to and investing in women in the workplace is good business.”