Do men and women value the same benefits and incentives at work?

We’ve talked at length about the differences between employees from different generations and parts of the world—but we haven’t yet revealed many of the differences between men and women in the workplace.

Our surveys show that men and women are aligned on many workplace issues, including leadership and learning. However, they do have slightly different priorities when it comes to job satisfaction and benefits.

Men and women at work November 24

A few of the key differences our surveys revealed:

  • Men tend to care more about company reputation. 32% of male respondents said a stronger company reputation/brand would increase loyalty and engagement at their current job (vs. 23% of women).
  • Women are more likely to prioritize education. Education benefits ranked as more important for women (44%) than men (40%).
  • Women are more interested in non-traditional benefits and incentives. Workplace amenities like fitness centers, daycares, and recreational facilities also ranked more important for women (41%) than men (36%).
  • Men rate the importance of quality of life slightly higher than women—but it’s important to both, with 47% of women agreeing compared to 51% of men. Women rate using more current technology higher than men do, with 53% of women agreeing compared to 47% of men.

While it is important for companies to address the varying wants and needs of diverse groups, it is also important to recognize commonalities. Men and women, for example, are equally likely to say competitive compensation and flexible work locations are important. Companies will need to understand these differences and similarities as they work to set policies that attract the best workers from all demographic groups.

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The gender pay gap

Over the past few months, we have been talking about the national and company approaches to parental leave policies—in particular, how these policies affect women’s wages and participation in the workforce.

In an article from The New York Times, Claire Cain Miller explores new research on the gender divide for parents in the workforce. She cites University of Massachusetts sociology professor Michelle Budig, whose research finds that high-earing men receive large pay bumps after having children (likely because employers consider them less likely to leave a stable job), while low-earning women are most likely to suffer. In fact, Budig’s research, based on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, finds that “on average, men’s earnings increased more than 6 percent when they had children (if they lived with them), while women’s decreased 4 percent for each child they had.”

Most companies have not yet figured out how to develop the right policies for employees with children—the same is true for determining paid maternity and paternity leave. Combating the gender pay gap will require not just an overhaul of policies, but a change in mindset.