Report: Women in the Labor Market 2022. Up to 53% of them face obstacles in their careers due to motherhood

Employers understand that empowering everyone to realize their potential in the workplace – regardless of gender, age or origin – is an activity that can benefit not only individuals, but organizations as well. Companies are increasingly creating project groups focused on equality issues, participating in initiatives to increase the proportion of women in management positions and encouraging fathers to take parental leave.

For several years, we have been observing positive changes in the Polish labor market, which lead to equal opportunities for women and men in work, promotion and adequate pay. Diversity and inclusion policy assumptions play an increasingly important role in companies’ business strategies. Much is changing for the better, but the pace of transformation isn’t satisfactory for everyone, notes Anna Czio, Head of People and Culture at Hays Poland.

Gender Challenges

These are the conclusions of Hays Poland’s latest report “Women in the Labor Market 2022”. According to this year’s poll, 53 percent. and 28 percent. Men have encountered gender-related obstacles in their career path. Professionals and managers more often than their colleagues are exposed to situations in which their career opportunities are determined by stereotypes, unconscious biases, or discriminatory practices. They often deal with cases of preferring men (55%), following stereotypes in decisions about hiring and promotion (53%), assuming their low availability (48%) and lack of confidence in qualifications (42%).

Source: Hays Poland report “Women in the Labor Market 2022”.

In turn, participants who played managerial roles reported negative and harmful views of the so-called “female management style”, which is stereotypically viewed as too emotional, with an excessive tendency to compromise and disobedience among subordinates. When asked about the challenges they would have to face on their way to taking on the first management position of their career, they also mentioned the need to carve out a path in a company where there are no women in management positions, and perceive their candidacies through the prism of – even theoretical – motherhood. This is one of the reasons why so few companies in Poland are run by women.

In Poland, there is no shortage of talented and successful female managers and directors at the managerial level. However, when we take a closer look at the composition of the boards of directors that determine the appointment of the highest positions in organizations, the vast majority of them are men. In this context, it would seem natural to choose a male candidate for the position of CEO. Decision-making processes simply lack a female perspective, and unconscious biases can be expressed – comments Alexandra Tiszkowitz, CEO of Hays Poland.

One of the biggest problems that professionals face is the consideration of female candidates in the context of potential maternity. Parental and family responsibilities are still mainly equal to that of women, which puts the recruitment of female candidates at additional risk from the point of view of some employers. Some corporate decision makers still assume that as mothers they will take time off for sick children, or will soon get pregnant and disappear from the company for a year. So it is a manifestation of the inequality that affects working mothers and childless women.

Difficulty juggling roles

Combining the role of parent and employee is a challenge for many professionally active people. According to the poll, 67 percent. and 45 percent. Parents faced obstacles in their careers related to judging work and raising children. These challenges often relate to having to choose between being involved in work or family life and not having enough time to devote to loved ones. At the same time, among respondents who encountered difficulties in combining the role of parent and employee, as many as 69 percent. and 81 percent. of men indicated an inability to fully participate in the child’s life.

* Only people who have at least one child.

Source: Hays Poland report “Women in the Labor Market 2022”.

Moreover, every third of the respondents experienced the need to quickly return to work after maternity leave, and every fourth experienced difficulties in taking on the position previously held. Taking into account the above and the fact that 81 percent. Men cited the inability to fully participate in a child’s life as a challenge, and it can be concluded that when sons appear, the potential of working mothers and fathers is not perceived in the same way.

To a large extent, care responsibilities still fall to the woman. The belief that childcare is a mother’s job is a stereotype deeply rooted in the culture. In the professional field, there is often a belief that working mothers take care of their children when they are sick and use the entire parental leave owed to their parents. Hence, when a man wants to take care of a child, it is often a surprise – notes Łukasz Grzeszczyk, CEO of Hays Poland.

More equal distribution of responsibilities

Changes are looming that will lead to equal opportunities for men and women. The EU “work-life balance” directive aims to help parents reconcile work and family life and change the deeply ingrained personal image between parents and women, for example by granting the father two months of parental leave. The above equivalent cannot be transferred to the partner, which is aimed at achieving a more equitable distribution of unpaid care work.

In addition, more and more companies are focusing on the issue of paternity, trying to make it easier for employees to find a balance between private and professional life. Employers not only offer working parents additional benefits and show greater flexibility in terms of hours and workplace, but also create programs that support women returning from maternity leave or childcare.

About the report

Hays Poland’s report “Women in the Labor Market 2022” was created on the basis of responses collected from March to May 2022. The publication presents the results of an online survey in which more than 3.5 thousand people participated. women and men. The results of the survey were supplemented with comments from labor market experts and recommendations for employers. The report can be downloaded here.

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