Reports – Women 2021

Best Workplaces™ for Women in Sri Lanka


Having surveyed over 33,500 employees from 99 organizations, Great Place to Work© announces the 3rd consecutive annual List of the Best 10 Workplaces for Women in Sri Lanka for 2021 based on overall positive perception of female employees, representation of women in the workplace, and best practices and policies.

Significance was given to employee perception in areas related to non-discrimination and fairness with respect to gender, opportunities for career growth, professional development and recognition, involvement in decision-making, regard for both physical and mental health in the workplace, and work-life balance. Additionally, organizational policies and practices where extra steps were taken to ensure equity in the areas of special needs of women, hiring and retention, career progression, and grievance redressal were considered when compiling this final list of organizations.

Eight different industries are represented by the Best 10, with three organizations from the banking, financial services, and insurance sector, suggesting that this sector is currently catering well to their female employees. However, the diversity in the industries present on the list demonstrates that organizations across the board are responding to the need for inclusive workplaces. Additionally, it is clear that the size of the organization is not a barrier to creating an encouraging environment for women, with representation from small (less than 200 employees) through to extra-large (more than 1,500 employees) organizations.

Representation of women in the workplace is a key consideration when creating an inclusive workplace, and as such the Best 10 Workplaces on average have women as 48% of the workforce, ranging from 21% to 87%. As 50% would be the ideal scenario, these are well on their way, compared to the rest of the organizations surveyed which average at 27% representation of women in the workforce. Given that the national average of women in the labour force is 35% for Sri Lanka (2018 Census), well below the global average of 48.5% (2018, ILO), the nation as a whole, needs to be more proactive in encouraging women into the workforce and striving to keep them on.

The average positive perception of women in the Best 10 workplaces is 85%, an increase of 1% from 2020 and on a par with the average perception of the Best 40 Workplaces in Sri Lanka and 1% higher than that of the Best Workplaces in India (2020). Additionally, on average, there is parity between the perception of men and women in these workplaces, the goal for which organizations should be striving. Comparatively, the average perception of women in the rest of the surveyed organizations is 72%, with men having a perception 3% higher, which suggests that men are having a marginally better workplace experience in these organizations.

It is worth noting that among the Best 10 workplaces, women are notably more positive than men on all three areas related to compensation – fair pay, fair profit-sharing and unique benefits, despite no difference in pay scales which suggests higher expectation amongst men. Explore more detailed insights, such as this, and what makes a great workplace for women in the November issue of Echelon and gain a deeper understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including the impact of the pandemic and how organizations have adapted to accommodate their female employees.

We invite you to register with Great Place to Work© in Sri Lanka to conduct an employee survey and find out where your organization stands in terms of providing a positive workplace experience for your employees and have the opportunity to be recognized as a future Best Workplace.