Even after the Great Resignation ripped through most sectors of the US workforce after the pandemic, “The Great Breakup” is still shaking up C-Suites.
Currently, women hold only 20% of all company leadership positions, according to a recent Women in the Workplace Report from McKinsey. Women of color only make up 5% of those positions.
But there are signs that even those small percentages are dwindling. Throughout 2021 and 2022, women left leadership positions at an alarming rate. The Women in the Workplace report found that for every woman at a director level who got promoted in 2021, two women directors left their current roles.
“Even if a company feels they may be promoting a couple of women, the net picture is that women aren’t feeling this is the environment for them to thrive,” said Lareina Yee, senior partner at McKinsey.
Mending The “Great Breakup”
Burnout is certainly contributing to the Great Breakup. 43% of women in corporate America said they are burned out in their current job. But there are several other “discouraging” factors causing a record number of women to leave companies, says Tampa Bay fintech executive Monica Eaton.
“These departures of women from leadership positions have been attributed to workplace issues like work-life balance problems, unfair compensation, microaggressions, and diminished recognition for gender equality efforts. Women can often encounter a lack of support for their leadership aspirations, from both peers and senior colleagues,” Eaton told Hypepotamus.
Workforce retention has been a big topic for businesses of all sizes over the last two years. Several local startups have emerged to help businesses “walk the walk” of gender equity while combating The Great Breakup.
Some, like Birmingham-based startups Joonko and Boulo, are hyper focused on improving how women and underrepresented talent find their next roles. On the retention side, Atlanta-based Cooleaf and North Carolina’s PeopleLogic are rethinking points of engagement to help employees stay motivated and ready for their next step within a company.
Tech is one part of the equation. Eaton, a three-time founder in the fintech startups, is also thinking about mentorship as a way to combat the cascading effects of the Great Breakup. She started the LIFT Mentorship program to connect women in STEM with female executives.
We asked Eaton what businesses can do to actually “walk the walk” when it comes to gender equity. She said it starts with changing company culture.
“A misconception about “company culture” is that it’s not something that you can have your marketing team or copywriters draft for your business. It is something that you work toward and cultivate through action on a daily basis,” she said. “Companies need to challenge the status quo and make valiant efforts to recognize and emphasize the advantage of a diversified team, including female leaders.”