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OIWC 2012 Workplace Study Report


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In 2012 OIWC conducted an industry-wide survey to study perceptions of gender diversity and workplace values. The study serves as the foundation for workplace diversity and inclusion and women's leadership advancement efforts by the OIWC.

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OIWC 2012 Workplace Study Report

  1. 1. OIWC 2012 Workplace Study Report
  2. 2. 2 In 2012, the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) conducted a survey designed to provide insight into perceptions of the state of gender diversity in the Outdoor, Snow, and Bike Industries. A total of 1,542 professionals in those industries completed the 15-minute online survey. Results of the study will serve as a tool for measuring the OIWC’s impact on gender diversification and perceptions, an educational tool around the topic of gender equity in the outdoor industries, and as a foundation from which the OIWC will develop programmatic offerings. The study focuses specifically on five areas that represent potential hurdles with respect to gender diversi- fication in the outdoor and related industries: - Workplace Values - Women’s Leadership and Advancement Opportunities - Balancing Family and Career - Equity in Compensation - Gender Discrimination & Sexual Harassment In what follows, we will review details of the methodology as well as highlight key findings and implications. 1,542professionals 15minutes +
  3. 3. 3 OIWC partnered with Leisure Trends Group (LTG) to distribute and conduct the 15-minute online survey with professionals in the Outdoor, Snow, and Bike Industries. Several industry organizations distributed the survey link to their constituents, subscribers, and event attendees including: Bicycle Retailer & Industry News; Interbike; Leisure Trends Group; OIWC; SNEWS; SnowSports Industries America; and SwarmBuilder (Three Point Five). The study did not employ quotas nor were re- sponses weighted to represent the current composition of any sampled industry. Methodology
  4. 4. 4 Given that the OIWC membership is predominately female, it is not surprising that women represent 65% of responses. A majority of respondents are employed by the outdoor indus- try (53%); followed by the bike industry (17%); the snow industry (15%), and other industries (15%). The majority of survey participants work in retail (58%). Product manufacturing employees made up the next significant group at 28%. These results follow along industry percentages, as retailers employ the largest number of individuals in the industries. The sample includes a cross section of staff from the executive level to managers to assistant and other entry-level employees. A majority of respondents work at companies with more than 100 employees (53%), and as such, represent some of the larger organizations within the sampled industries. The sample skews young relative to the general population, providing a glimpse into perceptions held by the next generation of managers and leaders on gender equity. Sample Composition
  5. 5. 5 Female Male Prefer not to answer33% 65% 2% Gender Sales representative-internal Manager (mid-level) Support Staff Employee Role Manager (upper-level) Coordinator Sales representative-independent Director Executive Sole-proprietor or principal owner Other 23% 20% 17%8% 6% 4% 3% 1% 3% 23%
  6. 6. 6 1 2-5 6-15 Number of Employees 16-25 26-50 51-100 More than 100 Age (% Selecting) • > 24 • 25-34 • 35-44 • 45-54 • 55+ 15% 21% 20% 21% 21% 11% 35% 26% 18% 20% General Population OIWC Survey 11% 8% 11% 10% 5% 53% 1%
  7. 7. Key Findings
  8. 8. 8 Workplace Values In general, all employees place a premium on work-life balance and acknowledgement of a job well done in regards to the values they want represented in their workplace; men and women rank these ideals in the top two when asked what most impacts their feelings or attitudes toward their jobs. When asked how their company performs on these values, men and women equally feel their employ- ers were delivering fairly well on the work-life balance value and not well at all on recognition. In other words, both genders equally feel their employers could to a better job of delivering on workplace val- ues that make a difference in job satisfaction. Interestingly, employers actually exceeded expectations in providing opportunities for employees to work in areas about which they are passionate. This is par- ticularly important for an industry whose success is dependent upon providing optimal experiences and products for millions of outdoor recreation customers. However, there are significant differences between the genders in perceptions of how well their com- panies are doing in delivering on values of gender equity, particularly valuing a flexible work schedule, a culture of respect between the genders, and perspective of all genders. The perceived lack of support around flexible working schedule, might explain, in part, the low perceptions around equal respect for the genders. McKinsey and Co. research shows that companies who offer options for flexible working conditions are more likely to retain top talent. It joins mentoring programs for women and a commit- ment to gender diversity at the top of the strategic agenda as one of three important steps a company can take to make gender diversity part of its DNA. Taken together, these findings indicate a need to address gender equity on a systemic level, as the per- ceptions of male and female employees remain radically different.
  9. 9. 9 For example, 84% of respondents report that a work-life balance has an important impact on how they view their job. However, only 58% felt their companies provide a good work-life balance. Similarly, 83% of respondents want to feel acknowledged and honored for their work, but only 47% feel their companies actually deliver on this value. Conversely, 82% report that their employers relate to an activity or cause they are passionate about, but only 73% report that this is important to them. This is the only statistic where the compa- nies are exceeding expectations. Female Male Work-Life Balance Ideal Actual 86% 79% 59% 55% Passion for an Activity or Cause Ideal Actual 72% 75% 81% 84% Recognition Ideal Actual 85% 80% 50% 42%
  10. 10. 10 However, there are significant dif- ferences between the genders in the importance and perceptions of how well their companies are delivering around values of gen- der equity and inclusion. Most notably, just 55% of women respondents indicate that their company fosters a culture of re- spect between the genders com- pared to 71% of men. Similarly, 60% of women indicate that their company values the per- spectives of both genders com- pared to 72% of men. Which of the following have an important impact on your attitudes or feelings about your job? Values the perspective of all genders Fosters a culture of respect between genders 74% 66% 70% 62% How well does your company perform on each of the following? Values the perspective of all genders Fosters a culture of respect between genders 60% 72% 55% 71% Female Male
  11. 11. 11 An additional discrepancy be- tween the genders is noted in the importance and execution of a flexible schedule policy. While number three in importance for women, a flexible work schedule was tied for fifth among men in what they consider an important factor of what makes for a good workplace. When asked how their companies were perform- ing, only 63% of women feel that their companies are success- fully accommodating a flexible work schedule compared to 72% of men. Flexible Schedule Policy Ideal Actual 77% 68% 63% 72% Female Male
  12. 12. 12 Findings are indicative of a significant perceptual gap with respect to the representation of women in leadership vs. other types of positions in the surveyed industries. The study asked respondents to estimate how many women overall work at their companies, followed by how many women occupy leader- ship positions – defined as director and above. The results demonstrate that women are perceived to com- prise approximately 40% of the total employee composition in the Outdoor, Snow, and Bike Industries, but only 26% at the executive level. However, the results indicate the perceived number of women represented, not the actual. And, there is ample psychological data demonstrating that respondents routinely over-represent the size of women and minority populations when asked to estimate on such. In fact, according to an Outdoor Industry Association study titled “Manufacturer Employee Compensation Report (2011),”women are underrepresented in key decision-making roles within the Outdoor Industry: 12.5% of all OIA company CEOs with sales over $20 million are women. 10.5% of OIA company CEOs with sales between $5 - $20 million are women. 15% of OIA company CEOs with sales under $5 million are women. Anecdotal and preliminary research from OIWC’s 2012 workplace study suggests that this pattern is not unique to the Outdoor Industry, but prevalent in the Snow and Bike Industries, as well. Leadership Development and Opportunity
  13. 13. 13 Evidence suggests that women also face challenges in terms of opportunity for career advancement. Only 63% of respondents believe that men and women are provided equal opportunity for advancement at their companies and a mere 37% perceive gender parity at the industry level. Moreover, women are less likely than their male counter- parts to perceive equity. Only 58% of women believe that men and women are provided equal opportunity for ad- vancement at their companies compared to 75% of men. Industry-wide, those perceptions drop further with 51% of men saying the genders are provided equal opportunity versus just 29% of women. Many comments left by respondents on this subject allude to an organic leadership progression that is the industry norm. Formal leadership training programs are rare. And many women do not feel a part of the progression that seems to happen more easily for male colleagues. Respon- dents speak of systemic exclusion of women as technical staff in retail, in what is – for many – the first job in these industries. Women tend to sell apparel and men sell hard- goods, shoes and boots. The arc to leadership in most companies comes from product (often hardgoods product) or from sales – in which many sales reps start their careers in the the backshop. Excluding women in the ranks of tech staff early in her career decreases the likelihood she will be on the track to the executive level as her career progresses. Career Advancement Opportunity Current Company Industry 75% 58% 51% 29% Female Male This pattern is also ubiquitous in the U.S. For example, women ac- count for one-third of students in MBA classes but only 2% of Fortune 500 CEOs, 6% of top earners, 8% of top leadership positions, and 16% of board directors and corporate officers (Women and Leadership).
  14. 14. 14 Family and Career Practical pressures such as salary, lifestyle, cost of childcare, career demands and opportu- nities, and availability of family leave have the most influence on the decisions about family planning for men and women alike. However, having children is perceived to have a negative career impact for women much more than for men. Forty-six percent of respondents indicate that having children negatively impacts the careers of women in the industry; whereas just 12% say having children negatively impacts the careers of men. Although the relatively young age of sampled respondents has an impact, the size of the gap between working mother rates in the outdoor industries relative to the national rate of working mothers suggests that many women are either leaving the outdoor industries when they have children or are choos- ing not to have children in order to stay in the industries. For an industry reliant on the next generation of youthful participants, the lack of parents – and specifically mothers – in its workforce is a problem.
  15. 15. 15 Does having children impact job opportunities? Having children has a negative impact 9% 2% Having children has no impact 60% 79% Having children has a positive impact 3% 4% Industry Having children has a negative impact 11% 2% Having children has no impact 49% 77% Having children has a positive impact 1% 4% Female Male Company 30% of women respondents have children, compared to 71% of women in the national workforce (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).
  16. 16. 16 Although this study was not designed to quantify the wage gap, results indi- cate perceptions of gender inequity in compen- sation that differ between men and women. Of female respondents, only 43% believe that men and women are paid equally for equal work at their companies compared to 70% of men. At the industry level, 45% of men believe men and women are paid equally for equal work com- pared to only 20% of women. The study also suggests that there is significant wage pressure across the outdoor industries. Just 38% of respondents say they are paid a wage that allows them to maintain a decent standard of living. This remains virtually unchanged be- tween male and female respondents. While low wages assist in maintaining margins and boost- ing profits, perhaps the industry may want to consider the long-term effects this wage pres- sure may contribute in attracting the best talent and innovation to the industries’ ranks. Compensation Perceptions of equal pay for equal work 70% 43% Female Male c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c 29% of respondents think that men and women are paid equally for equal work in their industries – a finding supported by the U.S. Census Bureau estimate that women who work full time earn 77 cents for every dollar that men earn.
  17. 17. 17 Although it is clear what constitutes gender discrimination and sexual harassment from a legal perspective, how individuals define and experience these events is often murky in the real world. In recognition that individuals don’t always agree in their perceptions of discrimination and harassment, the survey questions on these topics were left intentionally vague so that respondents were free to define their experiences in their own way. Results indicate that men are more likely to characterize themselves as hav- ing a no or low tolerance of harassment or gender discrimination than women (57% of men versus 31% of women). To provide more insight, the survey offered the opportunity for respondents to enter additional open-ended comments on each subject, and on this topic there are hundreds. The overwhelming theme from women respondents is a reluctance to report or even discuss inappropriate behavior from colleagues or supervisors for fear of being tagged as ‘that woman.’ The results also reveal that employees in the Bike and Snow Industries are more likely to perceive a culture of gender inequity than those in the Outdoor Industry. More than 25% of professionals in the Bike and Snow Industries say that these industries have cultures that exclude employees based on gender; do not take some employees and their perspectives seriously based on gender; and tolerate disrespectful communi- cation and behavior based on gender. Less than 20% of professionals say the Outdoor Industry is tolerant of such gender inequity. Discrimination and Harassment
  18. 18. 18 More than 95% of respondents believe that there is a role for OIWC in fostering systemic industry evolution in regard to gender diversity. The most cited actions include: Opportunities for the OIWC 1. Champion companies that are excellent places to work for both genders (68%). 2. Educate companies about best practices on gender in the workplace (67%). 3. Assist members in navigating these issues in the form of professional development and leadership training (57%). Among executive-level staff, the number one area they are most interested in is having OIWC help educate companies about best practices related to gender diversity (73%). Indicating a real desire for industry leaders to learn and evolve on this topic.
  19. 19. 19 WHY IS OIWC FOCUSED ON WORKPLACE GENDER DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION? Greater workplace diversity and inclusiveness is both a current and future opportunity for the business landscape. Studies show that companies with equal levels of women and men leaders yield a 16% increase in profit ( Yet often societal and cultural norms hinder women from achieving their full potential. In addition, women make up over half the talent pool. According to the U.S. Census, women earn more Bachelor’s (57.2%), Master’s (60.4%) and Doctoral (52.3%) degrees than men, and just less than half (49%) of all first professional degrees. Finally, over the next decade, wom- en will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in the country’s history (Claire Behar). In other words, women will capture an even greater portion of the decision and purchasing pie than today. Many companies in the Outdoor, Snow, and Bike Industries have realized the benefits of a diversified work- force. Several have developed policies and programs designed to specifically meet the needs of female employees and find that they also benefit all employees, irrespective of gender. However, too many others intrinsically desire such a workforce, but remain unclear about steps they can take to achieve it. OIWC aims to assist the industry in becoming a beacon for the “people” component of what has become known as the triple bottom line of “people, profit, planet” with programs that benefit both the companies and the individual. OIWC believes that progressing on workplace gender diversity and inclusivity will in- crease the industry’s ability to achieve excellence and economic sustainability. As such, OIWC revamped its vision and mission in 2011 to focus more specifically on workplace diversity and women’s leadership advancement. Prior, OIWC had focused solely on the individual. The organization will continue that focus with professional development and leadership training, simultaneously developing programs to focus on systemic evolution of the industry as a whole.
  20. 20. 20 Goal #1: Build on our strong foundation of resources, education and networking to increase women’s access to opportunities and advancement. Goal #2: Increase women’s leadership and participation in all levels of the workplace. Goal #3: Build a comprehensive set of industry models, best practices, and standards on workplace gender diversity and inclusivity that provides a firm basis for action by industry partners and other stakeholders at all levels. Goal #4: Strengthen our responsiveness to partnership opportunities in the Outdoor, Snow, and Bike Industries and work with our industry partners toward greater workplace gender diversity and inclusivity at all levels. OIWC Goals The OIWC Workplace Study serves as the foundation for workplace diversity and inclu- sion and women’s leadership advancement efforts by the OIWC and as a benchmarking tool for measuring OIWC’s impact on gender diversification and perceptions moving forward. It also serves as an educational tool for the industries around the topic of workplace gender and leadership diversity. OIWC spent eight months reviewing each response, evaluating narrative feedback, studying other industries, and collaborating with the leaders in the Outdoor, Bike, and Snow Industries. Through this rigorous process OIWC has adopted the following goals that will guide OIWC’s strategic planning though 2016:
  21. 21. 21 WITH GRATITUDE This study could not have happened without the support and expertise from Leisure Trends Group and specifically Dr. Jennifer Boldry, Senior Market Research Manager, Tim Srenaski, Assistant Analyst, Charlie Cooper, President, and Julia Clark Day, VP of Sales. Also thank you’s to Ali Sacash-Johnson, the principal owner of True North Marketing and OIWC Advocacy Chair, Kristen Eleckho, OIWC volunteer, and Mat- thew Bates, Graphic Designer Extraordinaire. OIWC wishes to also express gratitude to its Advisory Council members for their insight as the report was generated and released: Donna Carpenter, Carolyn Cooke, Audrey Hicks, Therese Iknoian, Wink Jackson, Kathy McGuire, Tara Moeller, Betsy Novak-Winter, Megan Tompkins, and Doug Walker. Data Sources Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, Employment Characteristics of Families, “Table 5: Employment status of the population by Sex, Marital Status, and Presence and Age of Own Children under 18,” 2008-2009 Annual Averages (2010)., Research Reports, “The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation of Boards (2004-2008)” Nancy M Carter, Ph. D., and Harvey M Wagner, Ph.D. (March 2011) McKinsey & Company, Women Matter. Women at the Top of Corporations: Making it Happen. New York, 2010. Outdoor Industry Association, Manufacturer Employee Compensation Report. Boulder, Colorado, 2008. Kellerman, Barbara, and Deborah L. Rhode, eds. Women and Leadership: The State of Play and Strategies for Change. Jossey-Bass, 2007. American Community Survey (ACS), Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009. < p20-566.pdf> Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010. <> Claire Behar, Senior Partner and Director, New Business Development, Transference of Wealth. Fleishman-Hillard, New York, 2010.