By Carrie McCabe
More than one in four women are considering downsizing their careers or leaving the workforce completely according to a just-released study by McKinsey and Lean In. In August and September alone, 865,000 women dropped out of the U.S. labor force—four times greater than the number of men who did. Years of hard-fought gains and significant effort toward gender diversity may be lost as women exit the workforce—and companies lose their future women leaders.
In the joint “Women in the Workplace” study released by McKinsey and Lean In, the dynamics of this situation are further explored. The data set reflects contributions from 317 companies and more than 40,000 interviews on workplace experiences.
Working mothers have been particularly impacted by the pandemic, as it has worsened challenges many women were already facing including having a “double shift” of a workday job and at-home responsibilities of caring for a family and household.
Companies are also at risk of losing senior-level women, creating a cascade-down effect worsening the trajectory for all women in the organization. According to the study, senior-level women are nearly twice as likely as men to be “Onlys”—the only or one of the only women in the room at work. These women often work longer and harder to provide extra validation of their competence. Accordingly, the study found senior-level women 1.5 times more likely than senior-level men to think about downshifting their role or leaving the workforce altogether with their additional home responsibilities due to COVID. Three in four women also cite burnout.
Originally posted on Forbes