In the media

The 'major stressor' that firms must wake up to

By Anna Devine

FT Ignites Europe

29 March 2022

PA’s chief research officer, Charlene Li and people and change expert Charlotte Vitty, are quoted in an article about the impact of unpaid labour on a woman and her career.

The article explains that in the asset management industry, leaders must address the uneven distribution of unpaid work on women and the toll it takes if they’re to address workplace inequalities.

In a survey carried out by Ignites Europe, it found that women carry out 5.8 hours of unpaid work on average each week and sixty per cent of women and 42.6 per cent of men spend at least seven hours doing unpaid work per week. Forty-five per cent of women believe unpaid work has a negative impact on their wellbeing versus only 15 per cent of men.

Charlene says such figures should be a "wake-up call" to asset managers.

She adds: "Simply acknowledging that unpaid work is a reality and challenge would be a first step – but only the first – towards addressing this major stressor for women."

The article explains that the survey could indicate trends that are specific to asset management.

Charlene adds that there may be fewer women than men with children working in the sector.

Unpaid work is often seen in a negative light but there can be many benefits to be gained. Charlotte explains that the skills developed through unpaid work are "just as good if not better" than those gained through paid work.

She says that women may grow, nurture and educate their children, coach and mentor their partners, support and care for the mental health and wellbeing of their wider family and friends, along with managing a household. They do all this while advancing their own careers.

"Women's capacity for managing volumes of work is something that employers should value far higher and support," she adds.

However, among employers and society, there is still very little value placed on unpaid work.

Charlotte says the value placed on a woman's role in effectively "project managing" her family through daily life is extremely low.

To conclude, Charlotte says that firms should better understand the social value and impact that unpaid and invisible labour roles have on the local and national economy, and use it to their advantage to build a "multi-skilled" workforce.

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