Business Group Blog

What Women Want-at Work

Women want workplace flexibility

In our modern world, flexibility is the freedom to thrive in and out of the office, and it’s what women want. Today’s top talent is attracted to forward-thinking, flexible, and family-friendly workplaces. 

After decades of growth, women’s participation in the U.S. workforce has been declining.  In 1990, the United States had the sixth highest female workforce participation rate of 24 OECD economies. By 2014, it dropped to 22nd.1 Research indicates the lack of family-friendly policies accounted for approximately 28% of the relative decline.2

According to Gallup’s Women in America: Work and Life Well-Lived report, 46% of female employees say flextime is the most important benefit a company can offer its workers, and 44% of female employees would leave their current job for one that allowed them to work off-site part time.

Many employers recognize the value of workplace flexibilities and have begun to adopt practices that maximize employee well-being and organizational performance. Nearly nine in ten (86%) of employers that participated in the Business Group’s recent Employee Perks survey offer flexible scheduling and more than half offer telework. In addition, financial assistance (79%), elder care supports (67%), paid time off for volunteering (59%), and paid parental leave (49%) were among the most prevalent work-life balance supports. To learn more current trends in a variety of employer supports from tuition reimbursement to commuter benefits to onsite child care centers, read the National Business Group on Health’s Employee Perks survey report.

If you are striving like many organizational leaders to understand the current and future needs of your workforce and build a culture that not only retains but motivates employees, join us at Workforce Strategy 2017: Engaging for Change in Austin,Texas September 26-28. 

The Business Group will provide a special plenary session on “The Rise of Women in the Workforce: How Changing Demographics are Redefining Employee Benefits” showcasing new data on what female talent values and how leading-edge employers are rewiring their cultures to allow women (and men) to be their best at work and home.

Sessions such as Transforming the Workplace Environment to Create an Optimal Employee Experience, Giving Employees the Gift of Time, A Culture of Well-being Wasn’t Built in a Day: How Three Employers are Strategically Transforming Their Organizations, and benchmarking discussions will equip you with the data, tools, and strategies to transform your organization into an employer of choice that offers what women want.

Learn more about related topics by visiting our pages on job satisfaction, caregiving, paid leave or the members-only publicationThe Family-Friendly Employer: Top Companies Take the Lead in Parental Leave and Programs for Working Parents.



  1. Mathur, A and McCloskey A. (2016, May 25). The concerning drop in workforce participation and role of family-friendly policies. Forbes
  2. Blau, Francine D., and Lawrence M. Kahn. 2013. "Female Labor Supply: Why Is the United States Falling Behind?" American Economic Review, 103(3): 251-56.