It’s becoming more and more important to women leaders that they work for companies that prioritize flexibility, employee well-being, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
2022 marks the eighth year of McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace report. Conducted in partnership with LeanIn.Org, their effort is the largest study of women in corporate America to date.
This year, McKinsey collected data from “333 participating organizations employing more than 12 million people, surveyed more than 40,000 employees, and conducted interviews with women of diverse identities—including women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities—to get an intersectional look at biases and barriers.”
Their research ultimately revealed we’re amid what they’ve termed a “Great Breakup.” In essence, women employees are demanding more from their workplace, and they’re leaving their companies in unprecedented numbers in order to get it.
As we know, this type of movement can have serious repercussions for companies, and we wanted to find out why.
The research indicates female leaders face obstacles that make it harder to advance if they stay put. They’re more likely to experience microaggressions, such as having their “judgment questioned or being mistaken for someone more junior.” They’re also doing more to support employee mental health and foster inclusion, but this critical work is spreading them thin and going mostly unacknowledged.
Why are so many women leaving their jobs?
According to McKinsey, microaggressions, mental health, and culture are at the top of the list. And, these factors that prompt current female leaders to leave their companies are even more important to the next generation of women according to the data.
Young generations of women prioritize the opportunity to advance—for example, McKinsey reported more than two-thirds of women under 30 want to be senior leaders. Young women are also more likely than current women leaders to say flexibility and company commitment to mental health and DEI are major factors when deciding on their place of employment. According to McKinsey, organizations that don’t take action may “struggle to recruit and retain the next generation of women leaders.”
What to do with the data
According to the report, a vast majority of employees want to continue to work for companies that offer remote- or hybrid-work options. Specifically, McKinsey found this to be a major factor when it comes to the well-being of their female employees. Women employees who can choose to work in the arrangement they prefer—whether remote or on-site—are “less burned out, happier in their jobs, and much less likely to consider leaving their companies.”
Women employees who can choose to work in the arrangement they prefer are:
- Less burned out
- Happier in their jobs
- Much less likely to consider leaving their companies
As we move forward in this new era of the workplace, McKinsey suggests avoiding a “one-size fits all approach” and instead, maintain flexible options for all employees.
In addition, equip and motivate your managers through training and support. Because according to the data, managers play an “essential role in shaping women’s—and all employees’—work experiences. And, when managers invest in people management and DEI, women are happier and less burned out. They’re also more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work and less likely to think about leaving their jobs, which translates to better recruiting and higher retention.”
To make meaningful and sustainable progress toward gender equality, McKinsey ultimately suggests organization’s should consider focusing on two overall goals: getting more women into leadership positions and retaining the women leaders they already have. Through thoughtful policies, programs, and managerial support, your organization can rise to the moment, which will lead to a better workplace, for everyone.