Women, especially younger women, are happiest working for companies that give them the same opportunities as men and offer pro-family policies, according to Fairygodboss, a website that collects women’s anonymous reviews of their employers.
Of the 30 industries represented by Fairygodboss reviewers, consumer goods ranked 15th; retail, 23rd; and drug stores, 28th in female employees' overall job satisfaction, according to an analysis of 4,800 reviews left by Fairygodboss' young, affluent community of working women. Nearly 65 percent of women in the Fairygodboss community are millennials and 73 percent report earning more than $50,000 annually.
Women ranked retail and drug store companies better on the issue of gender equality and fairness, with retail ranking 11th and drug stores ranking 12th. Consumer goods companies ranked 16th. See full rankings.
Fairygodboss identified five key factors highly related to job satisfaction for women:
1. Women are more satisfied where gender equality prevails. Women who rate their experience highly in terms of job satisfaction are more likely to commend their employer for having a culture where women are treated fairly across many dimensions. One woman at American Express wrote: "Women are treated equally for promotions. There are still more male senior executives, but it does seem like the company is devoting major efforts to promote women."
2. Women are more satisfied when they see gender-balanced management teams. Women who posted high job satisfaction observed many women throughout the management ranks above them, indicating both opportunity and support for their careers. A woman at Prudential wrote: "I've worked here for over 5 years and there are many women working here. Several women in leadership, which is great to see."
3. Women are more satisfied at employers who promote work/life balance. Work/life balance emerges as a major theme in Fairygodboss’ reviews. The website sees a high correlation between women's job satisfaction and comments such as this one from a research engineer: "New Balance is very respectful of the fact that employees [both men and women] have a life outside of work ... There is virtually no pressure to work longer hours on a regular basis. Using all your vacation/paid time off as needed is also perfectly OK."
4. Women are more satisfied at employers with family-friendly values and practices. Women say they are more satisfied working for employers who have empathy and respect for their responsibilities at home. A vice president at ADP wrote: "ADP has allowed me to provide for my family financially, and I have not ever missed anything for my children ... which makes me run through brick walls for ADP."
5. Women are more satisfied when they have received and taken more paid maternity leave. Fairygodboss observed a direct correlation between the length of paid maternity leave a woman takes and their job satisfaction. One woman at Johnson & Johnson wrote: "In the 6 years I have worked here, I have seen some truly amazing things. For example, paid maternity leave is paid at 100% of the employee's salary, is not held against them, and was recently extended from 12 weeks to 17 weeks."
Employers who are committed to improving the numbers and experiences of women in the workplace must understand the factors that impact female talent's decisions about where to work — and stay, according to Fairygodboss. "Once the factors are clearly identified, employers can begin to break down the obstacles that prevent women from achieving success throughout the senior ranks of organizations, allocating resources wisely and deliberately.”