Accenture Research Reveals – Post-pandemic Work-life Balance Proving Harder for Women

8th March 2023

Posted In: Be In The Frame

Maintaining work-life balance has always been challenging, but it’s been made even more difficult for women post-pandemic, according to new research from Accenture to mark International Women’s Day today, March 8th.

In a survey of over 1,000 men and women across Ireland, 87 percent of women say they are feeling more burnt-out at work since the pandemic in comparison to 75 percent of men.

Overall, three-quarters of those surveyed say that demands on their personal time and daily routine at work have changed since the pandemic. 58 percent of all respondents feel they need to be more ‘available’ from a work perspective since the start of the pandemic.

64 percent have felt more overwhelmed by increasing responsibilities both at home and at work (73% of women versus 55% of men)

and 63 percent say their physical and mental wellbeing has suffered on account of this (71% of women versus 54% of men). More than two thirds of women – 68 percent – confessed to feeling worried about expressing their feelings around being burnt out in case it holds back their career progression.

In addition, almost half of the women surveyed (46%) have considered downshifting or leaving the workforce altogether this year.

Most worrying for a country struggling with skills shortages is that 36 percent of women attribute the impact of childcare responsibilities as the biggest reason for possibly downshifting their work or even leaving their career.

The research also shows that 36 percent of men are considering this downshifting or leaving the workforce and the biggest driver for them is increased pressure and stress (38%).

According to the survey, primary parenting responsibilities appear to still lie with the mother, with women being identified by those surveyed who are most likely to experience childcare difficulties –71 percent of respondents said that over the last two years colleagues have discussed childcare difficulties and of these respondents, 77 percent identified women as being most likely to experience it compared to 12 percent of men. Almost two-thirds of respondents say women in their workplace are also more likely to request changes to their working patterns to facilitate unpaid caring responsibilities (60%).

Dr. Michelle Cullen, Managing Director and Inclusion & Diversity Lead at Accenture in Ireland said:

“The post-pandemic workplace and technology advances offer us a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change, but we need to act with intention to avoid exacerbating gender inequality and the skills shortage.

What our survey shows is that ideas about the roles of women and men in home-building and raising a family are stubbornly stuck in an older world. These biases persist in our education systems, our businesses and even in our own family systems, and if we want to change the post-pandemic workplace, we need to confront these biases.

There is a is palpable sense of frustration among the women in this survey, a recognition that something will have to give if they want to raise a family and forge ahead in their career to the best of their ability. We must address these issues now to ensure that the next generation enter the workplace with a better shot at achieving a work-life balance and share responsibility for raising the next generation.”

Elsewhere in the survey, when asked about the most beneficial actions an organisation could take to support you in your career, the most popular responses were a promotion or pay rise (21%), flexible working options (18%), and providing better benefits in areas like parental leave and sick leave (11%).