Women in Leadership Roles Are More Likely Than Ever to Quit
Workspan Daily
October 21, 2022

A new study by McKinsey & Company in partnership with LeanIn.org found that women are more likely than ever to leave their leadership positions.  

For every woman at the director level who gets promoted, two female directors are choosing to leave their company, the study found. The report, which analyzed data from 12 million employees at more than 330 companies in the U.S. and Canada, have been tracking the state of female workers since 2015, with the findings published in an annual report.   

“Women are just as ambitious as men, but they are leaving their companies at the highest rates we’ve ever seen and at higher rates than men in leadership,” LeanIn CEO Rachel Thomas said. “We really think this could spell disaster for companies.”  

The “2022 Women in the Workplace” report also found that while women are just as likely as men to seek higher roles, once they’re in them, they tend to face more microaggressions that undermine their authority and send signals that it will be hard for them to advance.  

It found that 37% of women leaders (defined as manager or higher) surveyed reported having had a co-worker who took credit for their idea versus 27% of men leaders. And they were twice as likely as their male counterparts to be mistaken for someone more junior. 

For Black women leaders, the undermining is worse. The study found, for example, that they were 1.5 times as likely as women leaders overall to have colleagues say or imply they’re not qualified for their jobs. 

Women leaders overall are also twice as likely to spend substantial time and energy supporting employee well-being and fostering diversity, equity and inclusion, but don’t get rewarded for it, according to the report. Of women leaders surveyed, 40% said their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are not acknowledged in performance reviews. 

The study also found a representation issue remains prevalent. For every 100 men promoted from an entry-level job to manager, only 87 women are moved up the ladder. Overall, 60% of the managers in the data analyzed were men.  

“For the eighth consecutive year, a ‘broken rung’ at the first step up to manager is holding women back,” wrote the authors. “As a result, men significantly outnumber women at the manager level, and women can never catch up. There are simply too few women to promote into senior leadership positions.” 

The C-suite also remains predominantly male and White, according to the report. Only one in four C-suite leaders was a woman, and just 1 in 20 was a woman of color. 

“Despite modest gains in representation in senior leadership over the last eight years, women — and especially women of color — are still dramatically underrepresented in corporate America,” authors of the study noted. 

Amazon Labor Union Experiences Setback  

An Amazon warehouse outside of Albany, New York, known as ALB1, voted overwhelmingly against joining the Amazon Labor Union on Tuesday.  

The tally was 206 votes in favor of the union and 406 votes opposed — the results of the election still need to be certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  

Chris Smalls, president of ALU, said in a statement that the voting process “wasn’t free and fair,” suggesting the union may seek to challenge the election results. Lawyers for the ALU have already filed 27 unfair labor practice charges against the company with the NLRB. 

“It was a sham election where workers were subjected to intimidation and retaliation on a daily basis and even the workers who volunteered to be election observers were faced with threats of termination,” Smalls said. 

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel told CNBC in a statement: “We’re glad that our team in Albany was able to have their voices heard, and that they chose to keep the direct relationship with Amazon as we think that this is the best arrangement for both our employees and customers.” 

Workers at ALB1 hoped the union would help employees obtain higher wages. Amazon last month bumped up the starting wage at the facility to $17 an hour, up from $15.70 an hour, alongside pay increases for front-line workers across the country. 

Amazon is one of several companies facing an upswing of labor organizing across the country. Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Southern California last week filed a union petition with the hopes of joining the ALU. Amazon workers at facilities in California, Illinois and Georgia recently held walkouts, in time for Amazon’s fall Prime Day discount event, to urge the company to respond to employee concerns around working conditions. 

Apple Store in Oklahoma City Votes to Unionize  

An Apple Store at Penn Square in Oklahoma City voted to unionize recently, becoming the second Apple Store to win union representation in the U.S., TechCrunch reported.   

The workers voted 56-32 in favor of forming a union and will be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Per NLRB rules, Apple has five business days to file an objection to the election. If not, the company must now recognize the union and take part in the collective bargaining process, which allows the workers to negotiate their contracts. 

Before the union election, the CWA filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB, accusing Apple of illegally surveilling, threatening and questioning workers at the Oklahoma City store. The complaint is currently under investigation. 

“Like Starbucks, Amazon, and other corporations, Apple execs have spent months violating labor law and intimidating their workforce. Workers are seeing these tactics for what they are — desperate attempts to prevent them from having a real say in their working conditions. Money is no match for workers who are ready to claim their power,” said CWA secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens in an emailed statement to TechCrunch. “Apple workers are determined to organize for better wages and dignity on the job.  

“Despite Apple’s illegal and aggressive anti-union campaign, Apple retail workers across the country will continue to organize, especially after this momentous victory.”  

In a statement to The New York Times, an Apple spokesperson said: “We believe the open, direct and collaborative relationship we have with our valued team members is the best way to provide an excellent experience for our customers, and for our teams.” 

In June, an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland became the first of the tech giant’s U.S. retail locations to win union recognition. Leading up to that vote, the trillion-dollar company’s vice president of people and retail Deirdre O’Brien sent a video to 58,000 retail staff warning them about the perceived drawbacks of unionizing.  

Now, as Apple rolls out more educational perks to its retail workers, the company says that the unionized store in Maryland will have to negotiate for the benefits.  

Survey: A Third of UK Employees Willing to Quit Jobs Over Weak Climate Action 

Even in a recession, a third of UK employees are willing to quit their jobs if their employer takes inadequate action to reduce its carbon footprint, according to a new study by Supercritical.  

Amid the slump, leaders are looking for ways to cut costs. Many are considering giving up on sustainability initiatives, which can turn out to be a dangerous gamble. That’s because one-fifth of all employees are already unhappy with their employers' current climate initiatives. 

The study found that a third of UK workers would not be comfortable with their company cutting its sustainability program to save money and they may consider resigning from their roles. This sentiment is particularly widespread among Gen Z, with more than half (53%) of 18-24-year-olds willing to consider leaving an employer based on net zero credentials. 

“Corporate climate policy is the new DEI. Businesses can no longer get away with changing or scrapping their sustainability initiatives at the drop of a hat. Employees are demanding more and employers are being held to account,” said Michelle You, co-founder and CEO of Supercritical.  “Those that want to attract and retain top talent must start seeing climate action as a non-negotiable or risk being left behind.”  

The study found that 70% of UK employees would be proud to work for a company committed to climate action, and more than half (54%) consider the steps a company has taken to reach net zero an important factor when deciding whether to work for them.  

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