Navigating the gender gap during the Great Resignation

March 8, 2022

The mass wave of people leaving their jobs has left companies to worry about filling open positions to maintain productivity and keep pace with demand. However, while organizations strategize to mitigate these issues, it will be paramount to focus on keeping women at work. 

The gender gap in the Great Resignation is widening as women are continuing to drive these departures. According to Gusto, women are leaving at consistently higher rates, with 4.1% quitting their jobs in January of 2022 — compared to 3.4% of men. This represents a gender gap of 0.7 percentage points.

Why are women leaving at higher rates?
There are several reasons that explain this widening gender gap, such as women quitting to pursue better opportunities or higher pay. However, the main reason for these resignations is typically associated with child care needs. American Progress reports the COVID-19 pandemic caused drastic reductions in school supervision hours and had a detrimental effect on the child care sector. As a result, women are trying to balance a full workload with caregiving and housework, and they are finding themselves consistently overwhelmed and burned out.

These shifting priorities, and resulting mass exodus, are unfavorable for your business and overall economic stability. Focusing on strategies to maintain your female workforce will become essential assuming the gender gap continues to widen. Some of the best ways to keep women at work include:

1. Communicating and considering cases on an individual level
Working at uncertain times means employees have different needs to navigate these changes effectively — and this might be especially true for women. Having an open conversation about what you can do as an employer to help alleviate some of their issues can be extremely beneficial. Not only can your company implement procedures to help individual cases, but your workforce will value the support. This inevitably results in greater dedication and loyalty in the long run.  

2. Offering more extensive benefits
As women continue to leave their jobs for better opportunities and higher pay, it might be time to re-evaluate the benefits your company offers to retain your female workers. These benefits might include wellness programs, improved family leave opportunities or even simply better pay. Your workers are looking for organizations that promote their well-being and provide them with enough to support their families through these unpredictable times. 

3. Providing flexible working options
Because women are progressively focused on child care, offering flexible working arrangements is more important than ever. This could include work-from-home, part-time adjustments, job-sharing or advanced PTO opportunities. These arrangements can help your female workforce find a more manageable and suitable balance between their priorities at work and home.

To retain your female workforce amid the Great Resignation, it will be critical to listen to their needs and adjust your procedures accordingly. While these changes might require time and attention, the overall benefits of keeping your talent around will be worthwhile in the long run.