How does gender impact workplace happiness?
By Founder of WorkL For Business, Lord Mark Price

We’re over a year on from when the first Lockdown began and at WorkL, the digital platform which is on a mission to make everyone happier at work, we’ve been monitoring how our happiness at work has changed. From over 100,000 workers, globally, our data also takes into account over 20,000 employees working from home, to determine how happy they are but also why they are as happy or as unhappy as they are.

When it comes to comparing happiness between genders during the lockdown, it’s men who have won. Men are slightly happier than females at work (69.4 v 67.9), however when looking at the scores from just the home workers, women are happier than men (72.1 v 71.4). So why are women happier than men working from home and why are men overall happier?

The biggest differences between males and females’ happiness at work are connected to my Six Steps to Workplace Happiness. Three of these steps, Empowerment, Well being and Reward & Recognition all differ significantly between genders.

More specifically, females score lower than males on Empowerment, Well being and Reward & Recognition while the scores are very similar for Information sharing, Instilling pride and job satisfaction. In contrast, women feel more Empowered when working from home compared to the office (74.8 WFH v 66.5 WFO) and they feel that their Well being is better (78.5 WFH v 64.1 WFO).

Is it that women prefer mixing home life and work life? Is the lack of a commute making women happier? Women are happier doing their job from home despite the fact that it’s widely known that women took on more of a role of home schooling and caring duties than men, in addition to working from home. What are data shows is that employers are now more trusting of home workers, giving them more autonomy, which women are enjoying.

Our data has shown that the happiness at work gap between genders is also driven by the types of jobs that females and males do. Women are more likely to work in Admin and Sales & Customer Service, and less likely than males to be Managers & Directors, Skilled Trades or Machine Operatives. In the Construction, Agriculture & Utilities and Professional & Scientific sectors, females are less happy than their male counterparts. This suggests that as these sectors have more male than female employees, that women are happier working in an environment with a more balanced workforce.

This for me shows the importance of having a diverse workforce, which is balanced when it comes to gender. A mixture of genders across job roles in a business is vital to not only addressing the pay gap between women and men, but it also helps to inspire both genders. Seeing people of their own gender in more senior roles, as an inspiration for their career, is vital to creating a happy and engaged workforce.

How does workplace happiness differ between managers and non-managers when looking at gender? The Happiest employees are Managers & Directors, who are more likely to be males (74.6) and managers tend to be happier than non-managers but women are also less likely to be managers (29 compared with 41 for males). For managers, the scores are very similar for males and females, while for non-managers females have notably lower scores for Well being (62.2 v 65.2), Empowerment (63.3 v 65.7) and Reward & recognition (65.3 v 66.9).

In summary, men have been happier with their working life compared to women during the pandemic. However, as we look closer, women working from home overtake men also working from home in the happiness score. The scores show that Empowerment is a big driver here; females are being given more autonomy over their work at home, so are scoring happier overall. Will we see more women permanently ditch the commute and create a home office rather than work 9-5pm in the office with a commute? Men appear to be happier at work from the office away from home life, so time will tell if we’ll also see a gender split as we return back to the office. The way to get an equally happy workforce when it comes to gender, is to ensure that businesses have an equal split of men and women in their workforce.