New Delhi– Seven in 10 working women in India have resigned or are considering quitting their jobs this year as pay cuts, bias and exclusion become their penalties for working flexibly amid the pandemic, a LinkedIn report revealed on Tuesday.

The research by Microsoft-owned professional networking platform found that poor employer sentiment towards flexible working and career breaks is holding women back from asking for greater flexibility and re-entering the workforce.

While eight in 10 (83 per cent) of working women have realised they want to work more flexibly, 70 per cent have already quit or considered quitting their jobs because they weren’t offered the right flexible policies.

When asked about the benefits of flexible working, around two in five women said it improves their work-life balance and helps them progress their careers, while one in three said it improves their mental health and increases their likelihood of staying in their current jobs.

However, due to strong employer bias, India’s working women are paying heavy penalties to work flexibly, the report noted.

Nine in 10 working women had to take a pay cut to work flexibly, two in five had their flexible working request denied and one in four struggled to convince their bosses to accept their request.

“This has made women reluctant towards asking for greater flexibility because they fear exclusion, being held back from promotions, working overtime, taking pay cuts, and being treated unfavourably by their superiors,” the report noted.

Given the impending guilt and stigma around flexible policies, one in every three working women in India shies away from telling their clients, colleagues and friends that they work flexibly.

Four in every five working women in India are taking career breaks to improve their well-being, plan career changes, and boost their confidence at work.

Despite these benefits of sabbaticals, about four in every five working women in India who took a break say that it had actually set them back in their careers.

For such women, LinkedIn said it has launched a new ‘Career Breaks’ feature to normalise taking career breaks and help women re-enter the workforce. (IANS)