Why Some Women Leave Their Jobs (And More Reasons They’re Staying!)

by Mar 24, 2022

Why are women leaving their jobs? ​​Is it the persistent gender pay gap, workload demands, or something else that isn’t shared? The short answer is: there isn’t a singular answer. It’s important to consider the most common answers when that question comes up. Working women are wanting more opportunities, flexibility, and representation in their workplaces, and many professionals question themselves with – how can employers do more to elevate the women and diverse population in their company?

Here are some reasons why women are leaving their careers, and reasons why they are choosing to stay.

Why They’re Leaving

An Increase In Responsibilities and Burnout

If you’ve felt especially burnt out and overworked since the beginning of 2020, you’re not alone. A 2021 Statista survey found that 77% of women reported their workload had increased since the outbreak of Covid-19. Additionally, they reported that their responsibilities at home grew tremendously. Although men also reported an increase in responsibilities, women felt more obligated to reduce their work hours.

As stated earlier, some women are worried that they can’t give their best effort at work given the circumstances. That worry left them with the decision to leave their positions. Others left their jobs due to burnout from their unmanageable workload. Burnout isn’t something new. It happens to more people than you’d think, especially with the modern work structure. Before technology was integrated into our work lives, there could be a physical separation from work for most people. Nowadays, your coworkers or employer can reach you on your personal phone, there’s little to no separation from your job. Additionally, if you’re working full-time, it’s expected that you work 40 hours a week but with the constant push of hustle culture, people sometimes end up working up to 70 hours a week. This environment can end up affecting work performance and one’s overall health.

Women Are Underrecognized and Underpaid

There are more women working in male-dominated positions, but according to Pew Research Center, 25% still find themselves making less than their male counterparts. First off, it is just unfair to pay someone less because of their gender. Secondly, while money may not be the key to happiness, some women are the main breadwinners for their families. Reduced wages can be a really big thorn in their financial side. Due to a lack of proper compensation, some mothers end up choosing between their family or career.

In the same vein, women are still largely underrepresented in high-paying occupations. Why? The majority of women report that they work in low-paying positions. These positions offer little to no opportunities for career advancement. Women are hardworking and ambitious, and when companies don’t recognize this, it can lower morale and lead to more women leaving their jobs for another company that they know will appreciate them even more.

Why They’re Staying

Improvements In Workplace Culture

It’s crucial for organizations to make an effort to progress into a more inclusive work environment. If women aren’t included or even considered within important conversations at work, they won’t feel comfortable enough to voice their concerns without the fear of consequences. Thankfully, employers are starting to make an inclusive workplace culture a priority and providing outlets for women to voice their concerns. Things like anonymous company reviews give women a safer space to reflect on their company.

Companies like Gopuff and Peloton are prime examples of a company putting women at the forefront of its initiatives. Gopuff’s work environment has an approval rating of 89% from their female employees and Peloton received a 2021 Best Companies for Women Award. The more companies put women and other diverse employees first, the more supportive, inclusive, and rewarding their work environment will be.

Support From Women In Leadership Positions

Along with improving workplace culture, seeing other women in leadership positions and offering mentorship can be encouraging for women wanting to move upward in their company. Historically, women haven’t had the same access to opportunities as their male counterparts so it’s refreshing to see women moving into high-level positions. According to a study by the Center for Creative Leadership, participants that had female bosses reported that they felt more supported and experienced less job-related burnout. The same study also found that having more women in an organization predicted more job satisfaction, organizational dedication, and more meaningful work. Companies are starting to recognize and act on the benefit and importance of having more women not only in their organizations but also in leadership positions.

Better Work-Life Integration

Too many women have felt guilty or that they were falling behind when seeking more work-life balance. Relaxing can feel like a waste of time when your work is always trying to grab your attention. Recently, employers have started to offer more flexible work schedules that give employees more work-life integration. This approach may prevent some of the burnout, which was discussed as one of the reasons why women are leaving their jobs. With events like the Covid-19 outbreak, more companies started letting employees work remotely. They also started to recognize the benefits of employees being able to work on a flexible schedule. They can compartmentalize their workday which relieves some of the stress that employees face when juggling work and personal responsibilities. Work-life integration benefits working parents as it doesn’t make them sacrifice their family or career for the sake of the other.

There are many reasons women have decided to leave their jobs as there are many reasons they choose to stay at their job. More recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic and cultural shifts, everyone has had to make the decision of whether or not to stay with their employers. Thankfully, more companies are starting to offer women a supportive, diverse, and inclusive culture so employees don’t have to choose. When they do this, especially during trying times, women are more likely to be motivated to stay.


About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

Your Culture Matters as Much as Your Legal Compliance

Legal compliance serves as the bedrock of any organization. While it lays the foundation, a positive workplace culture breathes life into your organization. A strong, supportive culture fosters employee engagement, boosts morale, and enhances productivity.  This...

How We Create Respectful Work Cultures

For the past 15 years, we have been dedicated to transforming toxic workplace cultures and fostering positive environments through executive coaching, corporate training, and large-scale culture change projects. We’ve serviced over 250 clients and their thousands of...

42% of employees would QUIT over political disagreements

Is it appropriate to restrict employees from expressing their political views at work? On the one hand, you want people to feel free to express themselves. But then, you don't want those water cooler chats to turn into full-blown political showdowns. According to a...

Why Retaining Top Talent is More Difficult Than Ever

Finding and keeping great employees can be tough for companies all over. With changes in employee expectations, advancements in technology, and shifts in the job market, it's a real challenge. In 2019, a whopping 42 million U.S. workers alone said "so long" to their...

Can Your Corporate Culture Influence Workplace Violence?

Workplace violence is a serious concern for organizations worldwide. While there are many reasons why it happens, one thing that doesn't get enough attention is the company culture itself. How people act and treat each other at work can make violence more or less...

How to Utilize Culture Surveys for Cultural Change

Surveys are a wonderful resource for measuring the success of culture change. Many clients approach us with the awareness of a cultural problem…but an inability to identify the cause. And that’s where we step in, often using survey scores as an identifier.  Let’s take...

Microaggressions Can Become Part of an Organization’s Culture. Here’s Why

We're talking a lot about making sure everyone feels included and respected in the workplace. But sometimes, it's not the big, obvious stuff that makes people feel excluded and disrespected - it's the little things. We have likely all experienced situations where...

5 Unfair and Discriminatory Hiring Practices That Go Unnoticed

Businesses that prioritize diversity in their workforce significantly increase the likelihood of fostering creative and innovative thinking among their employees by 150%. Also, companies with a lot of different ethnicities and races in their management team are 35%...

How the Lack of Training Affects your Organization

The workforce is the heart of any thriving company. However, without proper training, employees may find themselves ill-equipped to meet the demands of their roles effectively.  Millennials think learning and growing are important reasons for joining a new company....

Why it’s Getting Harder for Some Women to Report Harassment

The United Nations Women found that about 1 in every 3 women has been sexually harassed at work. 3 out of 4 of them never report it to a manager, HR or anyone else. Imagine a world where every woman is treated with the respect and dignity she deserves. Unfortunately,...