Women cannot pursue their careers with the same time and attention as their male counterparts. This is evident in that despite women being equally qualified, only 4% of the CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies are female and 22 out of 197 global heads of state are women. It thus stands to reason that total rewards have to be re-examined within the unique circumstances facing the female employee and not just tailored to the traditional gender set-up that has gone before.
“Total rewards are defined as the combination of all types of rewards, including financial and non-financial, direct and indirect, intrinsic and extrinsic, that are made available by employers to employees in terms of the adopted reward philosophy, strategy and framework,” explains Dr Ronel Nienaber, Exco member of the South African Reward Association (SARA). “A well designed total rewards model is proven to improve employee commitment and engagement and retention, assists in the reinforcement of organisational values and culture and forms a key cornerstone of the Employee Value Proposition.”
“The challenges women face in breaking through glass ceilings often emanate from traditional gender hierarchies and norms that prevail in the family and society,” says Nienaber. “Despite gender equality and empowerment, the household unit often still has a traditional structure that makes males the dominant gender; these traditional stereotyped role expectations spill over to organisational policies and practices and become entrenched in a gender-biased organisational culture that is very difficult to break.”
“I believe that the total reward systems in South Africa and globally are not flexible enough to address the specific needs that women have,” says Nienaber. “In most households, women are the primary caregivers for children and elderly relatives. How can women then still pursue their careers with the same time and attention as their male counterparts?”
Nienaber believes that businesses that adopt a progressive attitude are more likely to offer flexible work schedules to help accommodate the needs of working women and offer mentoring programmes that are designed to increase their career development. Employers need to offer child care facilities as a standard alongside flexible time and leave programmes that will allow women more time to focus on their careers.
“Total reward forms an inherent part of the dynamic relationship between the employer and the employee and incorporates the elements used by the former to attract and retain the latter,” Nienader says. “Employers should be actively engaging in efforts to reduce the wage gap, address fair and equal employment and ensure skills development and reward practices that will, in turn, increase return on investment and improve the organisation’s Employee Value Proposition.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Cathlen Fourie, 012 644 2833, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.atthatpoint.co.za
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