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The Great Breakup: Why Women Are Leaving and What Employers Can Do About It

The Great Breakup, a trend of women, particularly those in leadership positions, leaving their current employment and seeking new opportunities, is becoming more prevalent. Women are becoming increasingly ambitious and looking for roles that offer greater challenges and opportunities for growth. But why are women leaving, and what can employers do to retain their top female talent?

A Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey, in partnership with LeanIn.Org, surveyed and interviewed 33 participating organizations and more than 40,000 employees. The 2022 report concluded the following stats that continue to see men outweigh women at management levels:

  • For every 100 promoted men from entry-level roles to manager positions, only 87 women are promoted
  • 40% of the women surveyed said it was commonplace for other people to take credit for their ideas
  • There was a 2% drop from 2018-2022 in female employees in technical roles, with only 16% of the position share going to women
  • Women are repeatedly “stretched thinner” than men in leadership, with 43% of women leaders burned out, compared with only 31% of men at their level
  • 40% of women leaders say their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work isn’t acknowledged

One of the key drivers behind the Great Breakup is the desire for greater work-life balance. Women who are juggling the demands of work and family may find that their current employer is not supportive of their efforts to balance these responsibilities. Employers should recognize that work-life balance is important for all employees, not just women, and should take steps to create a more flexible and supportive workplace culture.

Another factor contributing to the Great Breakup is the underrepresentation of females in leadership. Women who feel that their career advancement opportunities are limited due to their gender may look elsewhere for opportunities to take on more responsibility and climb the ladder. Employers should consciously create opportunities for female employees to develop their skills and take on new challenges, whether through leadership training programs, mentorship opportunities, or stretch assignments.

Dissatisfaction with pay gaps is also a factor contributing to the Great Breakup. Women who feel that they are not being paid fairly for their contributions may look for better compensation elsewhere. Employers should concerted efforts to address pay equity within their organizations and ensure that all employees are compensated fairly for their work.

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge the prevalence of gender discrimination and bias in the workplace, which can limit women’s ability to advance. Employers should make a concerted effort to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace culture that values and supports women. This includes implementing policies and practices that address bias and discrimination and creating opportunities for women to advance and thrive within their organizations.

In conclusion, the Great Breakup is a growing trend that employers can no longer ignore. To retain their top female talent, employers must create opportunities for growth and development, prioritize work-life balance, address pay equity, and create a supportive workplace culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. By doing so, employers can retain their best employees and reap the benefits of a diverse and engaged workforce.

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