Gartner Says Australia’s Female Workforce is Fueling Rising Effort Levels

Women are the driving force behind growing effort levels in Australian workplaces as more female employees are willing to go above and beyond at work compared to their male colleagues, according to CEB, now Gartner.

Data from the recent Global Talent Monitor report reveals that effort among Australian female employees is almost 7 per cent higher than their male colleagues. In 4Q 2017, female effort levels increased 1.6 per cent to reach 24.2 per cent, compared to just a 0.5 per cent increase seen in male workers.

“Gender differences in the workplace have long been a topic of intense focus and speculation, but the data is clear. Women are working harder than men and now appear to be the driving force behind corporate performance,” said Aaron McEwan, HR advisory leader at Gartner.

At a time when global effort levels are in decline, Australia is powering along with discretionary effort increasing 1.4 per cent in 4Q 2017; a full 5 per cent ahead of the international average, according to the data.

Gartner data shows that high discretionary effort in organisations can drive up to 23 per cent higher business performance.

While women are putting in more effort, they have developed clear expectations of what they want from their employer.

Female workers are less satisfied with their rewards (28.6 per cent) including health benefits, compensation and vacation, compared to men (29.5 per cent). Perceptions of pay among women is also lower than in their male colleagues (57.3 per cent versus 59.9 per cent).

“Organisations really need to think about what they are doing to support the continued productivity and engagement of their female workforce. They run the risk of losing their star performers if they continue to gloss over the desires of their hardest working employees,” continued Mr McEwan.

According to the data, the most productive segment of the workforce is also the most likely to leave. Intent to stay among male workers is currently 41.5 per cent while female intent to stay is 40.5 per cent.

An authentic, differentiated employment value proposition (EVP) can increase retention and position the business as an employer of choice.

Gartner recommends organisations look at the following three areas:

  • Equal pay: Across the entire workforce, build foundational knowledge of how pay decisions are made, including transparency around internal and external factors that might influence pay within the organisation. Use objectives to regularly define the most important ways employees can contribute to business objectives, alongside the expectations for their role. Ensure rewards for both women and men are reflective of the goals they achieve.

  • Greater flexibility: Flexible work advances career opportunities for women by supporting employees’ work-life balance, which benefits all employees but especially women, who are particularly likely to juggle work with household responsibilities like child or elder care. To effectively enable flexible work, however, companies must remove the stigma around it for both men and women.

  • Engage in rewards conversations: Empower employees to have a dialogue about how they feel about their individual rewards, what they want, and how the organisation can work towards realistic and achievable rewards that satisfy the workforce.

“Some boards and CEOs have already begun to place increased scrutiny on their diversity and inclusion efforts, with their sights firmly on addressing gender pay equity. The time has never been better to address the pay disparity and reward those who are putting in the hard yards,” concludes Mr McEwan.

Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labour Market Survey which is made up of more than 22,000 employees in 40 countries. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication. Visit to learn more and compare talent data from around the world.

Highlights from the Q4 Global Talent Monitor

Talent Monitor


International average

Intent to stay



Discretionary effort



Job opportunities



Drivers of attraction


  1. Work/life balance


  3. Location


  5. Respect


  1. Compensation


  3. Work/life balance


  5. Stability

Drivers of attrition


  1. People management


  3. Future career opportunities


  5. Recognition


  1. Future career opportunity


  3. Compensation


  5. People management

Source: Gartner (March 2018)

Gender highlights from the Q4 Global Talent Monitor

Talent Monitor



Discretionary effort



Intent to stay



Pay perceptions Index



Rewards satisfaction



Organisation satisfaction



Opportunity satisfaction



Source: Gartner (March 2018)

Additional analysis on HR and talent trends will be presented during GartnerReimagineHR taking place May 14-15 in Sydney. During the event Gartner analysts and senior HR executives wiill share key insights and actionable strategies for how HR can support organizational performance when tomorrow is uncertain. Follow news and updates from the event on social media using #GartnerHR.

About CEB, Now Gartner

Leading organizations worldwide rely on CEB services to harness their untapped potential and grow. Now offered by Gartner, CEB best practices and technology solutions equip clients with the intelligence to effectively manage talent, customers, and operations. More information is available at

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