Tag Archives: working women

Women want inspiration and leadership at work

18 Apr

Women value inspirational leaders and working environments over other benefits such as healthcare or pension, according to new research from O2.

Women also want their bosses to take the lead on issues such as flexible working. More than half say they want reassurance that working flexibly won’t have a detrimental effect on their career and that they can be trusted to work from home. In short, they don’t just want to stick to the traditional patterns of working, and they want that set out in black and white. An inspiring workplace is a flexible and empowering one for women.

Ben Dowd, O2 business director, says: “To create a truly flexible working culture, actions speak louder than words. And employers must lead by example to ensure that every member of staff feels empowered to shape their own definition of the nine to five.”

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Cheers to the new vintage of women sommeliers

15 Apr
Women are increasingly taking the wine world by storm. (pic: )istockphoto.com/boule13

Women are increasingly taking the wine world by storm. (pic: istockphoto.com/boule13)

I love the thought of women breaking the stuffy ranks of male-dominated industries, which is why it was a delight to read this Bloomberg article: Women pull corks as female sommeliers take over cellars.

Maybe it’s female intuition, the ability to ‘read a table’ or her non-confrontational manner when discussing a wine list with customers. There’s probably no single reason, but the new vintage of sommeliers in New World and Old World is becoming increasingly female.

The article quotes figures from the Institute of Masters of Wine showing that there are 87 women out of 287 masters of wine across the world. And new masters coming through are more likely to be female than male. And in the US, a restaurant group says 40% of its sommeliers are women.

It quotes beverage director Liz Nicholson from a major New York hotel saying that the female touch has made wine drinking and ordering much less elitist: “Women sommeliers have really helped remove being so uptight about ordering wine,” she says.

I’ll certainly drink to that.

Women with ‘elite’ education are increasingly opting out of full-time work

11 Apr

Work-life balance has taken a new turn. The higher the levels of study, the higher the chance that women will choose to opt-out of full-time work, says a study from Vanderbilt University.

The research found that 60% of female graduates from elite colleges are working full-time compared to 68% of women from other schools. Children are the key factor in hours women choose to work. Among graduates from ‘elite’ colleges, married women without children are 20 percentage points more likely to be employed than those with children.

The biggest difference is with women who have MBAs. Married mothers with an MBA and a first degree from a selective school are 30 percentage points less likely to be employed full-time than graduates of less selective schools, the study found.

Even though elite graduates are more likely to earn advanced degrees, marry at later ages and have higher expected earnings, they are still opting out of full-time work at much higher rates than other graduates, especially if they have children,” says Vanderbilt professor of law and economics Joni Hersch.

For a more in-depth understanding of her findings, read her full report: Opting Out among Women with Elite Education.

Women who work long hours risk piling on weight

3 Apr

The more hours women work, the more likely they are to gain weight. That’s the blunt finding of a study of 9,000 middle-aged Australian women.

Long hours are defined as 41-48 hours per week. Very long hours are 49-plus. The argument the researchers put forward for the weight gain of hard-working women is because they don’t have the time or energy to eat healthily or exercise. More than half of the women (55%) put on weight during the two years of the study, while a third (31%) lost weight.

Nicole Au, a research fellow at the Centre for Health Economics at Monash University who carried out the study, says: “These statistics provide some clues as to how employment patterns may affect lifestyle choices, and subsequently, body weight.”

The survey found that 65% who work more than 49 hours per week drink alcohol at risky levels, and 36% did not do any physical activity. These findings chime with a report out in the UK showing that women’s dangerous levels of drinking are causing more divorces. The Telegraph reports that women are drinking more to help them cope with work stress.

Childcare costs are becoming a luxury fewer can afford

6 Mar

Some nurseries in London cost more than the most expensive boarding schools in the UK, according to the Childcare Costs Survey 2013 from the Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute.

The research found that a place at Britain’s most expensive nursery £42,000, which is 25% more than a place at a top public school – putting childcare from the ‘necessity’ into the ‘luxury’ category in terms of working parents’ budgets.

Even once a child is at school, the costs are still racking up. Parents are paying nearly £4,000 for two children to be looked after before and after the school day – which exceeds that costs of a typical family holiday to Florida.

On average, a full-time nursery place costs £11,000. But this costs 77% more in real terms than it did in 2003, but earnings have stayed the same. This adds to the dilemma of many working mothers: can they afford to go out to work when much of their earnings are eaten up by childcare?

The Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting say they believe that “major root and branch reforms are needed to create a childcare system that gives children the best start in life and that supports parents to work”.

Home working: does it help or hinder productivity and creativity?

5 Mar
Who says home workers are less productive and creative? (pic: istockphoto.com/LifeImagesLLC)

Who says home workers are less productive and creative? (pic: istockphoto.com/LifeImagesLLC)

Home working is a hot topic, thanks to the ban on employees working from home by Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer. She outlawed home working after checking the stats on how often homeworkers logged onto work systems from home, and she decided it wasn’t enough. Her argument, set out in a memo that was leaked, is this: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.”

Ms Mayer’s decision has sparked outrage and support in equal measures. Some have pointed out the irony of the head of a digital communications company wanting to work face-to-face. Others have said competitiveness and long hours are what’s needed at Yahoo!

A business owner argues that social media has made us more isolated, and there really is no substitute for human contact in business relationships. “No level of Skype Calls or FaceTime conversations will ever replace the reality of looking a colleague, customer or supplier in the eye and shaking their hand,” argues Pimlico Plumbers CEO Charlie Mullins.

A childcare expert from the NCT has said that working from home benefits neither mother nor child. Elizabeth Duff is quoted as saying: “You can’t adequately look after a child and do a job well if you work at home all week. In emergencies, it has to be done. But in general it shouldn’t be.”

My view is that home working can be fantastic for productivity. Continue reading

Majority of working women believe they can ‘have it all’

2 Mar

LI_Women@Work_thumbnailTwo-thirds (63%) of working women prize work-life balance over their pay check, and three-quarters(74%) really believe they can have it all. These are the key findings from LinkedIn’s ‘What Women Want @ Work’ study, released to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March.

The emphasis for working women today is firmly on flexible working. Nearly two thirds (65%) of the 5,300 women who took part in the survey globally said they would like greater flexibility at workplace. And 80% believe a flexible work environment is the most important factor in determining the ‘success of the next generation of professional women’ – even more important than having more women in top jobs.

Having an interesting job was important for 58% of respondents, compared with 45% who prioritised salary. Interestingly, more than half (57%) of women without children thought having a child wouldn’t affect their careers, compared with 43% who do have children.

Another interesting fact emerging from the study is that 71% of women said their appearance Continue reading

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