NSC Business and Industry Division news Research/studies Worker health and wellness Worker Health and Wellness

What are the biggest obstacles women face at work?

Photo: Deloitte Global

New York — Increased stress, long hours and apprehension about disclosing mental health concerns are some of the most pressing challenges affecting women in the workplace, according to a new report.

Financial firm Deloitte Global surveyed 5,000 women from 10 countries and seven business sectors. Here’s what it found out:

  • Half of the women said their stress levels have increased over the past year and they’re “concerned” or “very concerned” about their mental health.
  • 2 out of 3 don’t feel comfortable talking about mental health at work or disclosing mental health as a reason for taking time off. “Workplace culture can contribute to this reluctance, but it’s not the only explanation: Many women worry about discrimination or being laid off, and 1 in 10 have had negative experiences when discussing their mental health at work in the past,” the report states.
  • Around 25% reported feeling burned out, and only 43% said they get adequate mental health support from their employer – slightly up from 40% in 2023.
  • Among those who work overtime, only 24% are satisfied with their job and fewer than 1 out of 4 said their mental well-being or physical health/well-being is “good” or “very good.”
  • Nearly 40% said they experience high levels of pain associated with menopause and work through the symptoms. 

The report features seven recommendations for employers to help:

  1. Understand what’s driving job-related stress and take action to remedy it.
  2. Build organizational policies that reflect the importance of women’s health, and create a culture in which women can speak openly about it and take time off to address any issues.
  3. Work to understand and address women’s safety concerns at work.
  4. Establish family-friendly benefits and policies and focus on enabling work-life balance.
  5. Be aware of the impacts of return-to-office policies on women, then identify and address challenges.
  6. Address non-inclusive behaviors – and support women’s rights to speak up without concern.
  7. Be a gender equality leader to reap the benefits of recruiting and retaining women at work.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)