Engagement of workers is a key aspect of employee retention. A small business can lose thousands of dollars in a year, due to job hoping employees. According to the Gallup article, Women Lead Men on Key Workplace Engagement Measures, “…employees who work for a female manager are 1.3 times more likely than those who work for a male manager to ‘strongly agree’ that there is someone at work who encourages their development.” The poll also shows that woman feel more engaged in the workplace at 41% to men’s 35%, meaning that women tend to have a greater emotional commitment to an organization and its goals.
Wendi Patterson, director of marketing of United Staffing Assoc. serving SLO County, told Simply Clear Media, “When we approach passive candidates to fill open positions, we emphasize the employee experience and expand on what the company is offering (training, workspace quality, company culture flexible schedule, and benefits). These reasons are why candidates consider moving to a new company and why employees return to former employers later on.”
So far, employee engagement does not seem to be a problem in the San Luis Obispo area. The SLO metropolitan area rated second in a well-being poll in 2014, falling just under Fort Collins, CO by only 8 tenths. However, the county was at the top of the list when it came to the employment well-being portion of the inquiry. The four questions asked did not cover all factors concerning employment, but did hit on crucial employee satisfaction components, such as; do you feel like you’re strengths are being utilized at your job, do you work in a trusting and engaged environment, and do you feel partnered with your supervisor rather than bossed around? Out of 530,000 people nationwide spanning more than 180 cities, the SLO area was the highest in the nation at 84% pertaining to the question concerning employee partnership
However, women are leaving the workplace and are taking their unique managerial skills and engagement with them. A 2012 study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a steady decrease of women in the workplace. Until the turn of the century, the number of employed women had a strong increase, but upon entering the new millennium the numbers have been dwindling. According to the study in 2000, the percentage of women in the workplace had reached 59.9%, but in 2015 that number had fallen to 56.7%. The loss of 3.2% does not seem that dramatic, but coupled with the fact that female employment had been increasing since the mid 70s demonstrates a distinct trend reversal.
There are several factors to consider that may contribute to the decrease in female employment, but it is possible that more women are opting out of the workforce for education. The U.S. Census Bureau conducted inquiry in 1994 put women ahead of men in college enrollment; 63% over 61%. However, by 2012 direct female enrollment into college out of high school grew to 71% while the percentage for males remained unchanged. A Pew Research article titled “Among recent high school grads, Hispanic college enrollment rate surpasses that of whites,” explains that in 2012 49% of Hispanics (the fastest growing naturalized minority group in the U.S.) enrolled in college directly out of high school. The report also states that high school dropout rates for Hispanics dropped to a record low of 15%.
Another factor that may contribute to the decline is the value that women place on a balanced work-life. A Gallup poll showed that 60% of women place a balanced work-life as ‘very important’ and that the majority of women at 54% would prefer to stay at home and take care of their home and family. In its “American Time Survey,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that on average women spend 2.3 hours a day assisting household members versus men’s 1.6 hours a day; a week’s average tallies up to 16.1 hours and 11.2 hours respectively. The Gallup Workplace Well-Being Poll also showed that two-thirds of women placed working at a place that focused on their strengths at the top of their preferences list.
By Mark A. Diaz