“Women in the Workplace 2020” is a must-read report from McKinsey & Company.
More than one in four women are contemplating what many would have considered unthinkable just six months ago: downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely.
Mothers are more than three times as likely as fathers to be responsible for most of the housework and caregiving during the pandemic. In fact, they’re 1.5 times more likely than fathers to be spending an additional three or more hours per day on housework and childcare. Many mothers are considering downshifting their career or leaving the workforce, and mothers are significantly more likely to be thinking about taking these steps than fathers.
Senior-level women are significantly more likely than men at the same level to feel burned out, under pressure to work more, and “as though they have to be ‘always on.’” And they are 1.5 times more likely than senior-level men to think about downshifting their role or leaving the workforce because of COVID-19. Almost three in four cite burnout as a main reason.
Before this year, Women in the Workplace research had consistently found that women and men leave their companies at comparable rates. However, due to the challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, as many as two million women are considering leaving the workforce. If these women feel forced to leave the workplace, we’ll end up with far fewer women in leadership—and far fewer women on track to be future leaders. All the progress we’ve seen over the past six years could be erased.
The choices companies make could shape the workplace for women for decades to come—for better or for worse.
There are two paths ahead. If companies recognize the scale of these problems and do all they can to address them, they can help their employees get through this difficult time and even reinvent the way they work so it’s more flexible and sustainable for everyone. If not, the consequences could badly hurt women, business, and the economy as a whole.
Friisberg & Partners International operates in many countries and across multi-national jurisdictions. Whilst there will be variations in legislation and expectation regarding gender representation on executive management teams and in…