Throughout November, Women’s Agenda conducted an online survey asking women about their careers, their ambitions and how the pandemic has changed the way they’ve worked this year.
A massive four in five women who participated in the research said they were rethinking what’s important to them in their careers in light of the pandemic, and many said they had been pushed to a professional crossroads this year.
What’s overwhelmingly clear is that women have had a challenging 2020, and there have been some major shifts in how we are all living and working, especially for those who’ve found themselves saddled with extra caring responsibilities.
Most of the respondents to the careers survey were working mothers aged 36 to 55, and many said that achieving a better work-life-balance was more important to them now, than it was before the pandemic.
35 per cent said they consider 2020 a “lost year” when it comes to their career, while a large cohort of women said they were made redundant this year when opportunities for travel, business and promotion became restricted.
Women are now placing greater value on flexible work, with 3 in 4 of those surveyed indicating it is more important than before the pandemic, while the ability to work from home has also been crucial for women through this period.
Meanwhile, 48 per cent of women say they have pursued some form of upskilling – like an online course or degree – as a result of COVID-19, and 31 per cent say a job with leadership opportunities is now more important to them.
From business to politics, the pandemic has brought to the fore the necessity of effective leadership. And among our leaders, traits like compassion, open communication and authenticity were highly valued by respondents. Jacinda Ardern, Daniel Andrews, Angela Merkel, Gladys Berejiklian and Kamala Harris were commonly cited as the leaders who have been most effective during this turbulent period.
Next Monday, Women’s Agenda will be hosting a free webinar with some experts to dissect the findings of the survey and talk through how leaders, employers and policy makers can reset the way we value women’s careers in a post-COVID world.
The time is gone where we can simply pretend not to understand the needs of working women in Australia, and post-pandemic there can be no going back to the old way of working that all too-often neglected these needs. There has never been a more urgent time to offer more support for women’s careers, and a fresh style of leadership is needed to get there.
Our lineup of panelists includes:
Div Pillay, the CEO and Co-Founder of Mind Tribes, Prue Gilbert, CEO of Grace Papers, and Monarch Institute HR Expert Terrena Hooper.
The conversation will be moderated by Angela Priestley, Head of Strategy and Co-founder of Women’s Agenda and Agenda Media.