One in three (33 per cent) women in the U.S. said they’ve considered downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce this year, compared to one in four (25 per cent) who said this a few months into the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org.
It also found 40 per cent of female respondents said they’ve considered leaving their company or switching jobs. The report is based on research from 423 organizations employing more than 12 million people and includes survey responses from more than 65,000 employees.
Close to half (42 per cent) of women said they’ve often or almost always been burned out this year, compared to a third (32 per cent) of women who said the same in 2020. In contrast, 35 per cent of men surveyed said the same in 2021, compared to 28 per cent of men who said this last year.
“Despite this added stress and exhaustion, women are rising to the moment as stronger leaders and taking on the extra work that comes with this: compared to men at the same level, women are doing more to support their teams and advance diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” said the report.
Indeed, the report found women managers are consistently doing more than their male counterparts to promote employee well-being. Among employees surveyed who have female managers, almost a third (31 per cent) said they feel their manager provides emotional support and a majority (61 per cent) said their manager checks in on their overall well-being. Meanwhile, only 19 per cent of employees with male managers said the same with respect to emotional support and 54 per cent said the same regarding check-ins on their overall well-being.
Of employees with female managers, 29 per cent said their manager helps them navigate work-life challenges, compared to 24 per cent of those with male managers; 42 per cent said their female managers help them manage their workload, while only 36 per cent of respondents said this about their male managers; and 21 per cent said their female managers help them take action to prevent or manage burnout, compared to just 16 per cent of those with male managers who said the same.
Additionally, the report found gains in representation for women overall haven’t translated to gains for women of colour. Although women’s representation had improved across most of the corporate pipeline at the end of 2020, persistent gaps still exist.
“Promotions at the first step up to manager are not equitable and women of colour lose ground in representation at every level,” said the report, noting “women continue to face a broken rung at the first step up to manager: for every 100 men promoted to manager only 86 women are promoted. As a result, men significantly outnumber women at the manager level, which means there are far fewer women to promote to higher levels.”
In addition, the survey found white men and men of colour advanced to senior level roles much more quickly than their female counterparts. At the manager level, 42 per cent of white men and 17 per cent of men of colour advanced to a managerial role, compared to 28 per cent of white women and 12 per cent of women of colour.
The report found the same disparity in other more senior positions, as white men and men of colour advanced at higher rates compared to their female counterparts for positions such as senior manager/director (50 per cent for white men and 15 per cent men of colour, compared to 27 per cent for white women and nine per cent for women of colour).
The trend continued all the way up the corporate ladder with 62 per cent of C-suite roles being held white men at the start of 2021, compared to 13 per cent being men of colour. Meanwhile, 20 per cent white women held C-suite roles at the beginning of the year compared to four per cent of women of colour.