A recent study by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), a global provider of leadership development and research, and Watermark, Silicon Valley’s leading community of senior and emerging women executives and entrepreneurs, reveals the powerful influence that women have on workplace cultures – and explores the steps organizations must take to recruit, promote, and retain female talent.

“What Women Want — and Why You Want Women — in the Workplace” by CCL senior researcher Cathleen Clerkin, Ph.D., is now available.

Released publicly after a joint event last year at the Ericsson Experience Center in Santa Clara, the research findings draw on input from almost 750 leaders in identifying the key benefits of having female talent in organizations. Among them:

• Participants from organizations with a higher percentage of women rated their organizations more favorably on 7 items related to job satisfaction, organizational dedication, burnout and employee engagement.

• Participants with female bosses (especially female participants) felt more supported and experienced less job-related burnout.

What are women looking for from the organizations that employ them? The new study shows they:

Want to work for organizations that help them find their calling: Women are drawn to work that is personally meaningful, fits well with their lives and their values, and is enjoyable.

Want flexibility in where, when and how they work: Women rated paid time off, flexible schedules, and working from home as more important compared to men — especially women with children.

Want leadership opportunities — and the resources and support required to make these opportunities successful: Women realize, as research confirms, that they are more likely than men to get “glass cliff” leadership opportunities that have a higher likelihood of failure.

“It’s a privilege to partner with a superb organization like Watermark on research that can make a real difference in how women are viewed and developed professionally,” CCL President and CEO John R. Ryan said. “Organizations can put the insights and practical advice in this white paper to use immediately to leverage the many strengths that women bring to the workplace.”

Said CCL’s Clerkin: “One thing is clear: there’s no single statistical reason why women still sometimes find themselves on unequal and unjust footing in the workplace. The action steps outlined in this paper will help leaders fix missed opportunities to advance women and ultimately accelerate organizational success.”

“For close to 25 years, Watermark has been known for our guidance, expertise, customized leadership development programs and any number of related initiatives dedicated to increasing the number of women in leadership positions,” Watermark CEO Marlene Williamson said. “These findings are so important as we continue to help companies achieve gender parity at the top — and throughout their organizations. We’re happy to partner with CCL as we all strive to facilitate positive change.”

This study included 745 leaders and aspiring leaders. CCL and Watermark conducted an online survey, asking female and male leaders around the globe about their experiences in the workplace, as well as what they want out of an ideal workplace environment. On average, participants worked full time and had a great deal of experience in the workplace. Overall, men and women worked about the same amount of hours per week and had comparable levels of workplace satisfaction and dedication to their organizations. The survey was anonymous and administered by both CCL and Watermark in early 2017.

The average participant age was 47, and the majority of respondents were white (61%), married (56.5%) and have children (65%). About three quarters of participants live in the United States, and participants represented diverse industries and leadership levels.

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) is a top-ranked, global provider of leadership development.

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