Women need to focus on digital fluency, career strategy, and tech immersion: Accenture
By Yunnie Marzuki March 15, 2017
- Combining these would reduce the pay gap by 35% worldwide
- The equalisers would add US$3.9 trillion to women’s income by 2030
THE recent leaps in technology have greatly changed how women work and grow their careers. Accenture recently conducted a survey called Getting to Equal 2017 and elaborated on three primary accelerators that help boost the careers of women in the digital world.
This quantitative study was conducted in 29 countries (11 emerging and 18 developed countries) with a total of 900 respondents (250 working women, 250 working men, and 400 undergrads) in each country, including Indonesia.
There are three different topics in this survey, namely, factors that drive women to make decisions for a better career path, the impact of digital technology on advancement and the pay gap between women and men.
“We wanted to go into details and that was why we had a focus group discussion in Indonesia to figure out the topics by focusing on two different groups. The first group are women aged between 20 and 30 with one to seven years of working experience, while the second group are aged between 30 to 40 with five to 16 years of experiences,” says Accenture representative Dewi T Saleh.
The results show that factors which influence the pay gap can vary amongst countries and include the lack of tertiary education, employment issues, types of industry that pay low wages, level or position, hours of work and other factors.
In developed countries, 39% of respondents agree that employment issues influence the pay gap, while 28% targeted hours of work, 24% said it was other factors, 6% felt it depended on the type of industry and only 3% said it depended on their level or position.
In emerging countries, 75% of women felt that employment issues were the problem, 13% voted for unexplained factors, 8% felt it was the working hours, 3% said it depended on the type of industry, and only 1% felt it depended on their level or position.
Getting to Equal 2017, which builds on Accenture’s 2016 research about closing the gender gap in the workplace, reveals that a woman earns an average US$100 for every US$140 a man earns.
Adding to this imbalance is the fact that women are much less likely than men to have paid work (50% and 76%, respectively). This contributes to a hidden pay gap that increases the economic inequities between women and men.
Based on the hidden pay gap, Accenture’s research shows that for every US$100 a woman earns, a man earns US$258. Since women are usually responsible for the bulk of unpaid work, such as childcare and housekeeping, the effects of the hidden pay gap for them are immense.
To help women close the pay gap and advance their career, Accenture came up with three major equalisers for women to focus on. These equalisers are:
- Digital Fluency: The extent to which people use digital technologies to connect, learn and work.
- Career Strategy: The need for women to aim high, make informed choices and manage their careers proactively.
- Tech Immersion: The opportunity for women to acquire greater technology and stronger digital skills to advance as quickly as men.
In Indonesia, 71% of women use technology to help them look for information and new opportunities in their career, 46% use the efficiency of technology such as social media or Skype in their work, and 47% use technology to improve and promote themselves in order to get a better job.
Women in Indonesia use the internet and social media mainly for obtaining information, learning and exploring new things, and as a source of tutorials for daily activities.
Career strategy helps women transform into better individuals when they aim high, have a proactive approach to their career, and make informed choices.
Eighty percent of women in Indonesia are businesswomen or entrepreneurs. Seventy-three percent have left behind the old, conventional methods of working and use technology. Uniquely, 68% of Indonesian women choose to start or pioneer non-profit organisations and encourage each other to work together.
“Respondents in this research also think that they have to improve their working skills, work-life balance, be adaptable to changes, build new skills periodically, explore their own potential, and be updated on tech development,” said Accenture representative Chitra Juganda.
In terms of tech immersion, this survey shows that women have integrated technology into their daily life in order to stay abreast of current affairs and the latest approaches to work.
In term of learning women were utilising e-learning or online course modules to undergo training or take classes, participating in regular webinars to update their skill, and using digital books to read and learn on-the-go.
In terms of work and lifestyle, women are using and mastering the technology used to support their job in order to allow mobility, such as closing the distance between global offices by using Skype and using online facilities for banking and shopping.
If all three equalisers are applied with the help of industry , educations, and the government, Accenture anticipates that it would reduce the pay gap by 35% worldwide and add US$3.9 trillion to women’s income by 2030.
What do the women say?
Three women from different industries share their thoughts on how technology contributes in managing both work and life balance.
Qareer Group Asia is a platform that nurtures, connects, employs jobseekers and professionals to enhance their insight and knowledge, matches companies with jobseekers and makes sure jobseekers are contributing to their roles.
“Now we are bombarded with so many messages from social media, email, and newsletters. That means we need to act faster and bring about more changes. Leading in the new means you have to go with the flow but in line with your passion,” says chief executive officer and co-founder Veronika Linardi.
Berry Kitchen is an on-demand catering service where customer place orders online for food that will then be delivered to them.
“I just gave birth, and as a working mom, I use technology most of the time. I have my own dashboard that shows the percentage of sales for the day, Skype call and emails for getting in touch with my staff,” said chief executive officer Cynthia Tenggara.
Go-Jek is a pioneer of ride-hailing platform that connects their drivers to the community and provides many other services to make life fast and efficient for Indonesians.
“Digital technology helps me manage my family and work. It a need we cannot live without. Technology education is a new thing that is trending now. For me, the majority of those interested in STEM careers are male and I hope that more women will be interested in this area too,” said chief human resources officer Monica Oudang.
For the three of them, it is important to know your passion and how to establish a work-life balance. With the help of technology, it is becoming easier for women to learn new skills and advance as swiftly as their male counterparts.
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