It’s not exactly a secret that women have a more difficult time climbing the ranks of big businesses than men. Globally, they hold only 23% of executive positions and only 29% of senior management positions. There are many reasons for this, from the “motherhood penalty” to downright sexism and unconscious biases in hiring and promotion processes. New research even shows that women who don’t get a senior job in the first 10 years of their career are far less likely to get one at all, while men’s chances accelerate after having kids.
And now, in a post-pandemic world where lots of people are leaving their jobs to look for somewhere they feel happier, women are engaging in what some have called The Great Breakup.
To be clear, this great venture isn’t exactly like The Great Resignation, which included plenty of people who left their jobs to pursue different careers altogether. Here, the focus is on women who leave their company to move to one that more closely shares their values.
A report by Lean In and McKinsey and Co. found that many women leave their jobs looking for roles that will help them prioritize their career advancement while also focusing on things like diversity, inclusion and flexibility. Flexibility is a big one, too; men support working primarily in the office at double the rates of women, and the working theory for that is that men aren’t dealing with childcare as much.
There’s some question as to whether or not these moves will pan out in the long run, though. The traditional model has always focused on people staying at a company for a long time and working up the ranks. For some of these women initiating the breakup, it might negatively affect their careers. Plus, it could perpetuate problems of inequality at existing companies since the candidate pool shrinks with every woman who leaves.
But it’s hard to blame anyone for leaving their job for one that makes them happier.