While just about 50% of the workforce is made up of women, the Institute of Women’s Policy Research reports it will be another 40 years before women receive equal pay for equal work. Women continue to be under-represented in every level of leadership. According to the World Economic Forum, out of 149 countries, in 2018 the U.S. ranked 51st for its global gender gap score.

Waiting to play catch-up is not an option for employers when half the talent pool is on the line. The tightest labor market in decades demands employers step up their games now, with targeted strategies that align with and reflect women’s preferences about workplace diversity and recruiting. Read on to find out what our Diversity in the Workplace Statistics Survey uncovered about women and diversity in the workplace.

Women Want to Work for Diverse and Inclusive Employers 

Women feel more strongly about the importance of a diverse workforce when compared to all survey participants.

Is workplace diversity important?


Like all respondents, women factor diversity into their decision-making processes about taking jobs and leaving them.

A potential employer’s commitment to diversity would be an important factor in my decision to accept a job with them.


I would consider finding a new job if my employer didn’t demonstrate a commitment to promoting a diverse workplace.


When compared to responses from all employees who participated in the survey, a slightly higher percentage of women (72% vs. 70%) would be reluctant to take a job from a company without diversity in executive leadership.

I would be reluctant to accept a job from a company who claims it is diverse if it didn’t have any underrepresented employees in its executive leadership positions (e.g., CEO, CFO, COO)


I would be reluctant to accept a job from a company who claims it is diverse if I didn’t meet any underrepresented employees during the interview process


What’s more, a higher percentage of women (66% vs. 63%) would be reluctant to take a job from a company with no underrepresented employees involved in the interview process.

Women identify race/ethnicity as the most important type of workplace diversity (versus age for all respondents) and give greater weight to innate diversity over acquired diversity traits (personality and education). The biggest gaps in perception relate to race/ethnicity (women rate it 8% higher than all respondents); people with disabilities (women rate this 6% higher); gender (women rate it 5% higher); and parent status and military status (women rate them 4% higher than all respondents). 

When you consider your ideal workplace, what types of diversity in the workplace are among the most important to you?


Women have similar perspectives as all respondents about which initiatives support diversity in the workplace. Fair and equitable compensation policies, flexible working options, diversity training and mentorship/leadership programs are rated slightly higher by women.

Which of the below are most important to you when it comes to initiatives that support diversity in the workplace?


Women’s perspective about which areas of diversity in the workplace have the most impact aligns with the perspective of all respondents. The biggest variances relate to company culture (which women scored 3% lower than all respondents) and community impact (which women scored 3% higher than all respondents). 

In which areas do you think diversity in the workplace has the most impact?


While the majority of women trust employer brand messages, fewer women than all respondents (74% vs. 77%) believe it when a company’s communications say it’s committed to diversity.

If an organization claims to be diverse in its marketing materials, website and executive communications, I trust that it is diverse


Women feel the same as all respondents about the best ways to show a commitment to diversity – with representation in management, representation in executive leadership and diversity communications ranking highest.

Which of the following best shows an organization’s commitment to promoting a diverse workplace?


Women agree that the most important recruitment policy/initiative for employers is to partner with diversity organizations, associations and networking groups to find diverse talent. Yet they disagree on the second and third most important, placing recruiting those with non-traditional backgrounds and ensuring there are diverse employees on the hiring team higher than all respondents. 

In terms of employee recruitment, what policies/initiatives do you consider most important for employers?


What Companies Can Do to Recruit Women

Based on survey results, following are ways employers can strengthen their ability to find, attract and hire women:

  • Help senior leaders clearly articulate why diversity is important, what the company is doing to drive diversity and create an inclusive culture. 
  • Highlight diversity as part of your organization’s values and employment brand. Make it an ongoing part of the company’s internal and external narrative. 
  • Share success stories internally and externally and consider highlighting women in leadership.
  • Ensure there is diversity of race, age and gender (as well as other classifications) in senior leadership, among managers and in the interview process.
  • By far, supporting compensation policies that promote pay equity is the best way to show support of diversity in the workplace. 
  • Focus on recruiting for and promoting all types of diversity – including those with non-traditional backgrounds.  

Learn More about Recruiting Women

Survey Methodology: The survey was conducted online within the United States by SurveyMonkey Audience on behalf of Yello between September 16 and September 26, 2019. It surveyed 500 full- and part-time employees, aged 18-73; 50% identified as women. Rounding leads some response totals to add up to more than 100% and in some cases, participants chose more than one response.


Diverse Women Share Their Thoughts on Diversity in Recruiting

Of the women survey participants:

  • 14% are members of the LGBTQ community and 8% are allies (compared to 13% and 8% of all respondents, respectively)
  • 62% identify with a religion (compared to 61%)
  • 14% self-identify as having a disability (compared to 18%)
  • 10% are Hispanic/Latino; 69% are Caucasian; 14% are African American/Black; 3% are Asian and 3% identify as two or more races (compared to 12%, 66%, 15%, 4% and 2%, respectively) 
  • 10% are age 22 or under; 34% are age 39 to 54; 29% are age 55 to 73; 27% are 74 or higher