The Great Resignation is still happening, especially for women

Gender equity progress in the workplace is at risk, according to a new McKinsey and study.

Women working in an office

“We're really at risk of organizations unwinding the progress they've made on gender equity.”

Photo: CoWomen/Unsplash

Women want more from their workplaces, and they aren’t afraid to walk away to get it.

Women are leaving workplaces at higher rates than ever, the 2022 Women in the Workplace study by McKinsey & Company and nonprofit found. The study, which surveyed 333 U.S. and Canadian companies and more than 40,000 employees, found that women’s voluntary attrition was 10.5% this year, compared to 9% for men. That’s up from 7.2% for women and 7.1% for men the year before.

Women are also still dramatically underrepresented in higher level and C-suite roles due to what the report calls the “broken rung”: For every 100 men promoted from entry level to manager, only 87 women are promoted, and only 82 women of color are promoted. This means that the higher you go, the fewer women there are to promote.

“We're really at risk of organizations unwinding the progress they've made on gender equity,” said Rachel Thomas, co-founder and CEO of and co-author of the report. “And let's be clear, they weren't close to an equal distribution when it comes to leadership already.”

These talent gaps between men and women are wider in tech. In hardware, women make up 32% of entry-level positions and 26% of the C-suite. In software, women represent 41% of entry-level jobs and 27% of the C-suite. This includes tech roles at non-tech companies, Alexis Krivkovich, managing partner at McKinsey and co-author of the report, told Protocol. And the gap is only getting wider, Krivkovich said: “The difference between men and women holding tech roles is two-and-a-half times more men than women. In 2018, it was 1.9 times.” Because few women are in the tech workforce, few women want to join, she said.

“Women in tech disproportionately experienced being an ‘only’ in the workplace,” Krivkovich said. “You're more likely to be mistaken for someone junior, you're more likely to have someone take credit for your work, you're more likely to be challenged for why you're there and deserve to be at the table. Increasingly, women are saying they want an experience that is better than that.”

Women of marginalized communities often face compounded discrimination. Around 60% of Black, Latina, and Asian women reported having bad experiences with management, including receiving less support, more than 50% reported experiencing less advocacy from team and leadership, and more than 40% said they experienced discomfort and exclusion among employees. Women with disabilities reported having their competence and authority challenged, including others getting credit for their work (36%) and having their judgment questioned (47%).

Women aren’t just leaving for a higher paycheck or new title. Women often face more opposition, including microaggressions that undermine their authority or bias in promoting, according to the report. They’re also often overworked and under-recognized: Around 37% of women leaders reported having a co-worker get credit for their idea, compared to 27% of men in those positions.

Many who choose to leave are also looking for a better workplace culture. Nearly 50% of women in the study said flexibility is one of the top three things they consider when joining a company. Progress in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives — or lack thereof — also plays a big factor in whether they stay or go: Women leaders are 1.5 times more likely to have left a previous position because they wanted the company to be more committed to DEI.

Bridging the gap

The talent gap between men and women may be wide now, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

One solution may be embracing flexible work styles. According to the report, only around 10% of women surveyed wanted to work mostly on-site. Though working from home is often helpful for women with families, many reported that it’s about more than just time constraints. While working from home, many said they experience less discrimination and fewer microagressions, especially women of marginalized groups.

Plus, remote work works as a hiring tool: More than 70% of HR leaders surveyed said remote work has helped their company hire more talent from diverse backgrounds. Speaking at a recent event attended by Protocol, Henrique Dubugras, the CEO of fintech company Brex, echoed this statement. Dubugras said the surge in remote work helped Brex with its diversity. “I felt like when we were in the Bay Area, every female engineer was getting hit with recruiters every single day,” Dubugras said.

But a flexible work plan has to be done with care to avoid “flexibility stigma” among managers, said Thomas.

“Flexibility stigma is the unfounded belief that if you're working atypical hours or you're working from home, that you're not as committed or you're not as productive,” said Thomas. “Those are some things organizations should think about as they continue to lean into flexibility.”

Some ways to do this are regularly gathering feedback from employees on their experiences, being intentional about employee connectedness and fostering camaraderie, and making sure that remote and hybrid employees get the same benefits and opportunities as those who work fully in-person, according to the report.

But remote work can’t be used as a crutch to avoid systemic change. Per the report, the key to gaining and retaining diverse talent is properly training managers to understand DEI initiatives and support employee well-being, Thomas said. This support can look like showing interest in a worker’s career, making sure that employees get proper credit, checking in on personal well-being, and encouraging respectful behavior among staff.

And expectations for this are on the rise. Seventy-eight percent of employees surveyed expect managers to be supportive of employees’ well-being, while 80% expect them to promote inclusion. A supportive manager is one of the top three factors in whether women surveyed joined or stayed at a company, the study found.

“Companies need to be doing more to set managers up for success,” Thomas said. “They're on the front lines of all employees' experiences, and that includes women's experiences. We know that companies are expecting them to do more to support employee well-being … and foster inclusion on their teams. And yet they're not always being trained effectively to do that.”


Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

Keep ReadingShow less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

Keep ReadingShow less
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

Keep ReadingShow less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

Keep ReadingShow less
Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.


Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

Keep ReadingShow less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories