The pandemic has been hard on all of us. Everyone’s lives and work have been disrupted in some way, and this is truer for female workers than most. More than ever, women in the workplace need support from their employers.
The departure of women from the workforce over the past year has far outpaced that of men. The national statistics pointing to disproportionate job and income losses by women, what has been dubbed a “shecession,” are staggering.
- 3 million women, compared to 1.8 million men, left the labor force between February 2020 and February 2021
- In December of 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employers cut 140,000 jobs and 100% of them were women
- Women of color have lost more jobs than white women. USA Today reported that of the 865,000 women who left the labor force last fall, 37% were Latina
- 1 in 4 women have considered downshifting their careers
For women who have stayed in the workforce, striking a much-desired yet ever-elusive work-life balance can seem more unattainable than ever. While working from home during the pandemic, many were also caring for and educating children, as schools and childcare facilities closed, and even high-level female leaders have reported feelings of wanting to quit their jobs. A bright light is being shone on these challenges and women are taking stock of what kind of work environment they can thrive in going forward. Many are thinking thoughts like, “I’m not going to stop working, but I’m also not going back to working the same way I did before.” Organizations that respond will reap the benefits of retaining talent. This is where employers have an opportunity to support their female employees, who bring unique value to the workplace, especially in leadership roles.
There is an increasing amount of research that suggests that women make teams stronger. The diversity of thought and experience they bring to leadership teams leads to representation that more closely matches that of the organization’s stakeholders, increased innovation, and overall better results. There is no question that women in the workforce are beneficial to their teams and their organizations as a whole.
Now is the time to be intentional about retaining female talent. Providing support like more flexible scheduling can help. Additional ways to nurture women are to provide leadership development, networking opportunities, and coaching. PRADCO’s Women in Leadership Program provides all three components as a cohort-based women’s leadership development program. The group sessions help women identify their unique value and intentionally bring more of it to their work; and the attention provided through one-on-one coaching can be especially impactful during challenging times. A coach can help prepare the participant for difficult conversations, serve as a sounding board to test ideas, and be an experienced and impartial ear to help talk through successful planning for negotiations and client interactions.
It’s important to note that a female leader may welcome this kind of support, but she may not ask for it. A successful woman can be very good at hiding her challenges, especially when it comes to performing at work. She may burn the candle at both ends, performing at the same high level, until she simply can’t do it anymore and burns out. Asking for help or support can feel like failure.
Don’t let your most talented women suffer in silence, or worse—leave your organization for another that more effectively supports the needs of working women. Talk to your top female talent about what they need to be successful and be proactive in your support. Contact PRADCO today to learn more about how we help you establish and reinforce opportunities to develop and coach your women leaders.