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Why Are Women Leaders Leaving Their Companies?

Women leaders are leaving their companies at drastic rates. Women are looking for real leadership opportunities and the ability to choose flexible and remote working conditions

Women leaders in corporate America are underrepresented and overlooked for career opportunities
Women leaders in corporate America are underrepresented and overlooked for career opportunities

According to McKinsey’s 2022 report on women in the workplace, in which they take a deep dive into the experiences of women in corporate America, women are continued to be underrepresented and overlooked for career opportunities. However, women are not willing to be overlooked anymore. They are leaving their companies at never-before-seen rates, and that will have serious consequences for companies.

Even though women have seen progress in representation over the last decade, they are still underrepresented. McKinsey (2022) reports that only one in four C-suite leaders is a woman and for every 100 men who are promoted from entry-level to management positions, only 87 women are promoted. As a result, more women with senior positions are leaving their companies. McKinsey (2022) states that “for every woman at the director level who gets promoted to the next level, two women directors are choosing to leave their company”, and this rate is considerably higher than men.

Why Are Women Leaving?

1 – Women face stronger criticism than men

Research suggests that women face stronger criticism and that they are being held to higher standards than men. Women are just as demanding and competent as men for senior positions, yet they experience microaggressions and their authority is being undermined.

2 – Women experience higher rates of burnout

Compared to men of the same seniority, women experience more burnout. Research shows that the main reason is women managers put more effort to sustain their employees’ well-being and they work harder for diversity, equality, and inclusivity activities for their employees. Which results in higher employee job satisfaction. However, the women’s effort for their employees’ well-being isn’t recognized.

3 – Women pay more attention to work culture

Women care more about company commitments toward employee well-being, diversity, inclusion, and equality. They are almost twice as likely to leave their jobs compared to men.

How Can Companies Support Women Leaders?

Women want real leadership opportunities and they want to ability to choose the working arrangement they prefer
Women want real leadership opportunities and they want to ability to choose the working arrangement they prefer

1 – Provide them with real leadership opportunities

In a Harvard Business Review article, Silva & Ibarra (2012) states that when promoted to leadership positions, men are given more resources to complete their projects and that men are more likely to be assigned to more visible and mission-critical roles than women. The only thing that women are more likely to receive than men is being assigned a mentor.

As a company, provide all genders the opportunity to make use of their skills and set your employees for success by providing them with sufficient resources and guidance.

2 – Recognize the importance of flexible and remote work

Women who can choose the working arrangement that they want (such as remote, hybrid, or on-site) are less likely to experience burnout and report higher levels of job satisfaction and consequently higher levels of life satisfaction.

According to McKinsey’s report, women who work remotely report fewer microaggressions and feel higher levels of psychological safety.

In a nutshell, it can be seen that women would rather leave their companies, change jobs rather than continually be overlooked for promotions, and not get the recognition that they deserve. Women are tired of being held to higher standards, non-existing recognition, and toxic work culture. Companies can support their women employees by i- providing them with real leadership opportunities, ii- giving them a chance to choose their working arrangements as much as their role permits, and iii- modifying the company culture in a way that it’s more diverse, equality, inclusion, and well-being focused.

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