Indian Women and their Preferences while looking for a Job

Women in India and their increasing number in the Indian workforce. What do women look for while searching for jobs? Work-life balance, flexi time, child care etc.

It is essential for an employer to understand what their employees are looking in the job. Any candidate appearing for an interview is often asked this question. If the preferences of the employee match to what the employer can offer, satisfaction with the job will be higher. It can also help to reduce the attrition rate for the employer, which in turn helps to reduce cost.


The potential women labour force is about 48% of the Indian population. Though the female labour force participation rate is struggling at around 30%, we cannot ignore the talent and contribution of this section of the labour market. In order to increase this participation, it is of utmost importance to understand the factors that affect women preferences when they decide to enter and stay in the labour market.


In order to evaluate these preferences, this article uses data from collected from the Continuous and Voluntary Paycheck India Web Survey that posts all their surveys in two languages; English and Hindi. These surveys have detailed questions about earnings, benefits, working conditions and employment contracts. More importantly, these surveys include questions about the preferences of women when they search for new jobs in different domains such as Decent Salary, Commuting distance and the combination of family and work. A total of 4,698 females respondents from across India responded by completing the online questionnaire over seven years 2006-2013.


 Preferences of Indian Women While looking for Job


From figure 1 we can infer that:

  • The highest priority for women (91%) when looking for a job is future career prospects and they also expect the job to be demanding job category. This shows that Indian women are willing to work and expect to grow when they enter the labour market.
  • Quality of work is also important for Indian women (85%). They are willing to take up jobs with responsibility and break away from stereo-type jobs offered to them in the past.
  • For 81% of women suitable working hours are important. Women in India are expected to fulfill the primary responsibility of taking care of house and children, hence they prefer social and fixed working hours.
  • For 80% of women, just like men social status is an important factor when considering a job. Also, about 78% of women expect a decent salary for their job.
  • A job working environment results in higher satisfaction with job. For 72% nice co-workers is an essential factor while considering a job.
  • Importance of investment in human capital for growth and sustainability in a job is well understood by Indian women and hence 71% of women have indicated that on-the-job training is imperative.
  • Given the social constraints that women face in India and bias attitudes of the employers towards male employees, 70% of women preferred permanent contracts while looking for a new job.
  • People in general prefer shorter distances while travelling to their offices. Therefore when we take a look at the above figure we can clearly make out that 73% of women respondents give commuting time high preference. This also helps them to achieve a better work-life balance.
  • When it comes to flexible working hours we see that 70% of the respondents considered it to be very important. This is because women find it difficult to maintain balance between work and family if they are forced to work for late hours. The fact that 75% of women gave utmost importance to work-family combination only solidifies the statement mentioned above.
  • It is interesting to see that Indian women are no longer interested only in part-time jobs. For 37% of women did not consider it important while 41% of women considered it otherwise.


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