The Great Breakup – Women in Leadership

Results of the McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace 2022 report has given rise to the term the “Great Breakup,” which refers to the emerging trend of women in senior positions leaving companies at strikingly high levels if their demands and requirements are not met. The report exposes a catalogue of failings by employers toward women, ranging from permitting hostile corporate cultures to discrimination and prejudice. Women also appear to be disproportionately affected by the emerging trend of remote and hybrid work — a benefit they value in order to achieve work-life-balance. This is leading to a culture of presenteeism driving unequal access to mentorship and advancement for them. They also cite doing the lion’s share of unremunerated work to support DE&I and employee well-being, the cornerstone of retention and employee satisfaction.

Companies looking to keep and attract more women for senior leadership roles need to fundamentally rethink approaches. To make meaningful and sustainable progress toward gender equality, companies need to start by getting more women into leadership. Thereafter, they need to take highly targeted steps to mitigate and improve people management of this group. It requires knowing individuals at scale and productively catering for them. 

Ultimately, companies want to empower this cohort to bring their voices and innovations to the table. Good HR is key. It holds a wealth of people data that could be used to not only identify the largest gaps in promotions but also help create the work climate that women in leadership are calling for. Collecting and analyzing this data is a huge undertaking, but technology can assist in automating tasks for HR leaders and producing actionable insights. With the war on talent still raging, it makes sense for businesses to do everything possible to put in place a framework designed to attract and retain this valuable cohort of talent.

Annie Rosencrans is the people and culture director at HiBob.

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