One in two women considering career change; one in five non retirement age women contemplating leaving the workforce
Stepping up or stepping out; new report from Women Rising reveals looming talent crisis as women weigh up career prospects with current employers.
New data from women's leadership company, Women Rising, shows an urgent need to address issues facing women at work as an alarming divide among women to either step into new roles or step out of the workforce emerges.
Women Rising surveyed 1,200 women from various industries and roles about their experiences and goals in the workplace. The resulting report, The Voice of Women at Work 2023, shows that career development is key to retaining women, however the impacts of poor confidence, bias, burnout and a lack of leadership has many unsure of their future career path.
“Employers should be concerned by these findings. Women are leaving jobs and even whole careers behind because of leadership gaps that could be easily addressed,” says Women Rising Founder and CEO, Megan Dalla-Camina.
According to the report findings, half (50 per cent) of those surveyed have considered switching careers in the past 18 months, 34 per cent have thought about reducing their hours and a third (33 per cent) have contemplated taking a less demanding job. Shockingly, 21 per cent of non-retirement age women have pondered leaving the workforce altogether.
Stepping up or stepping out
Promisingly, the report shows there’s no lack of ambition among women. One in two (50 per cent) have thought about pursuing a promotion in the last 18 months, 44 per cent have considered asking for a pay rise, and almost a third (31 per cent) are looking to amplify and progress their careers by taking on a stretch assignment.
Yet less than one in ten (8 per cent) are thriving in their job and almost two thirds (63 per cent) don’t believe they are fulfilling their potential at work.
Confidence, burnout and wellbeing were cited as major challenges for women at work, with more than half (53 per cent) expressing feelings of self-doubt, 78 per cent experiencing burnout in the last 18 months and 40 per cent impacted by stress or time pressure.
“While women are suffering from a lack of mentorship and sponsorship, they’re not sitting idly by waiting for their careers to happen. Many are ready to take action," says Megan.
Here employers should take note, 24 per cent of the women who changed jobs in the last 18 months cited a lack of opportunity to advance as their reason for leaving. Furthermore, 74 per cent stated they will leave their employer if there’s no investment in their career development. With RTOs providing workplace training, there’s no reason that upskilling shouldn’t be a part of every job.
"What's clear is that organisations risk losing talented female employees if they do not move the needle on career and leadership development," says Megan.
The leadership gaps organisations must address
According to The Voice of Women at Work 2023, 84 per cent of women agree that support from their manager is what they need to thrive at work. Disappointingly, less than half (49 per cent) have a supportive career mentor and worse still, one in five (19 per cent) state they have an unsupportive manager.
Worryingly, just 40 per cent of women feel that their leader is inclusive all the time and a mere 18 per cent agree their leader matches company rhetoric on gender diversity.
New models of leadership to unlock women’s potential
For women to reach their full potential, and for businesses to thrive, organisations must invest in women’s leadership development that works.
“Providing women with direct support and mentoring is just one part of the solution. Modern leadership models require male leaders to develop the skills and knowledge to be more effective allies for women in the workplace,” says Megan.
Women Rising’s framework has been developed to fast-track women’s career success. Of the 5,500 graduates to complete the program since 2021, 96 per cent report having new tools to progress their careers and increased opportunities. Furthermore, 82 per cent feel more confident that there is a career for them with their current employer.
Key to future business success is the Male Allies program which runs in parallel to ensure men understand the critical role they play in breaking down barriers and promoting gender balance.
“In order to better support women in their journey towards success, it is crucial for us to understand the challenges and opportunities that women face today. The Voice of Women at Work 2023 will not only help organisations understand the unique challenges faced by women in the workplace but aims to empower women to live, work and lead with clarity, purpose, confidence and authenticity," concludes Megan.
For more information, to download the report or join the upcoming Women Rising research briefing webinar, visit the Women Rising website: womenrisingco.com