McKinsey: Women in Leadership Are Leaving in Greater Numbers

According to new data from McKinsey & Company and’s annual Women in the Workplace report, women in leadership positions ranging from senior management all the way up to the C-suite are leaving their jobs at the highest rate since the two organizations began collecting attrition data, with the gap between men and women leaders leaving the highest it has ever been. Seen by some as a continuation of “The Great Resignation” and by others as a natural consequence of slow progress for women in the workplace, the number of departures reflect a growing frustration with lower wages, poor company culture, inflexible working policies, and limited opportunities for advancement.

The new study draws from employment data from 330 companies as well as interviews with more than 40,000 employees. Women in leadership reported a range of conditions leading to departures, from being more likely to be burned out than male colleagues, to being more likely to have colleagues get credit for their work or be mistaken for junior employees. The lesser likelihood of promotion also plays a role, with the report finding that for every 100 men who are promoted from entry-level to manager, only 87 women are promoted, with women of color seeing an even lower rate of 82. While women make up 40% of managers, advancement is still limited, with women making up only one in four people in the C-suite, and only one in 20 being a woman of color.

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Many companies have been making changes in order to attract and retain more diverse talent, with the report highlighting the need for increased flexibility in working arrangements to accommodate the additional workload women often face in domestic and family responsibilities, career development that includes formal sponsorship and mentoring programs, and performance evaluations and promotions equal to those received by in-person colleagues.

While the economy continues to lurch toward a global recession, employers are still struggling to fill positions and employees are still able to leave companies in favor of roles that provide what they need to be successful. If businesses wish to increase retention rates and slow the trend of employee departures, they would do well to be proactively responsive to workers’ needs, especially those who have historically faced disparities in promotion and compensation.