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Retaining Female Talent Amid the Great Resignation

May 25, 2022
Frances Campbell

2021 saw record resignations in the US, with 4.5 million workers leaving their jobs in November. The UK is no different: at the end of last year, surveys showed that a quarter of UK workers were planning on quitting in the next few months. It’s clear that the great resignation has not abated. 

This isn’t just a buzzword and it isn’t affecting all workers the same. Women have left their jobs at twice the rates of men, leaving female participation in paid work at a 30 year low. This has long-lasting consequences for pay equity, career progression and job security that may never be made up. 

Talent retention should already be a top priority for organisations in 2022, but how can you turn the great resignation into the great re-engagement and prevent further dropout of women from the workforce moving forwards?

Let's find out...

“People are not the most valuable asset in your company. People are your company.” Adam Grant, Organisational Psychologist

Why are more women leaving their jobs than men?

While it is possible to look at pandemic job changes through a positive lens; many people have been inspired to change careers completely and shoot for their dream profession, this isn’t true for everyone. 

In fact, many people aren’t actually changing careers but changing jobs within the same industry in search of better pay, more flexibility and better work-life balance. While this is good news for some, the number of job openings is a result of the increased number of women leaving the workforce. 

A huge factor in why women are leaving in higher numbers than men is the ever-present burden of childcare and care of elderly relatives that still largely falls on women. In the US, one third of mothers have scaled back or quit their jobs

Juggling childcare, homeschooling, caring for other relatives and work has taken a huge toll on women worldwide. Deloitte’s women at work global survey showed that 40% of women are listing burnout as their primary driver for finding a new job. This is alongside lack of progression to advance and lack of genuine flexibility as key reasons women are seeking out new jobs. 

How can we retain female talent? 

We know the importance of a diverse workforce, one where people feel included and able to bring their whole selves to work. You’ve likely been working hard for years to create a culture of inclusion, particularly when it comes to supporting women at work. 

So, what can you do to retain female employees in your workforce and attract top talent at the same time?

  • Provide flexible working: We mean real flexibility. The kind that allows workers to manage childcare and other responsibilities while feeling empowered in their roles. This is a commonly listed factor for women in particular and is a must-do to retain talent in 2022.

  • Foster a sense of belonging: Those that work for inclusive workplaces report higher levels of trust, engagement, better mental health, and career satisfaction. All these factors lead to employee retention. Not only for women but all employees, the culture of your workplace is a big factor in how long you plan to stay.

  • Recognise female talent: There are gendered differences in the way that different people present their successes and achievements that affect women’s ability to progress professionally. Recognising and championing female talent is vital. You can read more on championing women at work here.

  • Create clear career pathways: Lack of career progression is listed as a major factor for those leaving jobs. Creating visible pathways for women in their careers, including transparent structures for pay, promotion and hiring, will incentivise people to stay put. Knowing the path ahead is a powerful way to feel like you’re on track.

  • Ask your people what they need: While there are broad trends in talent retention that can inform retention strategies, nothing beats data from within your workforce. Ask your people what they need to do well in their jobs and what benefits and perks are important to them. 

Can mentoring help? 

Absolutely! How could we talk about female talent retention without mentioning mentoring? It is an excellent way to retain top talent across the board and it can work particularly well for targeting specifically at-risk groups, such as women considering leaving. 

The benefits of starting a mentoring program are wide-ranging:

  • Career progression
  • Developing future leaders
  • Supporting mental health
  • Fostering inclusion 

As you can see, many of these benefits feed directly into tackling the challenges faced by women in the workplace in 2022. Using a mentoring program, you can create a formal structure of support that will help you to retain female talent and empower women in their careers

Mentoring schemes can also be used to support those returning to work after a break such as maternity leave, easing the transition for new parents. 

A good mentoring scheme is also an attractive part of your company’s benefits. It shows commitment to your people, culture and progression, all things that will help you to attract high potential new starters to your organisation. 

📖 Read more on how mentoring can help you to beat the great resignation here 📖

There is no doubt that we have seen a great resignation happening before our eyes. What you do now to retain not only top female talent, but valued employees across the board, will inform the success of your business in years to come. 

More than ever, we are scrutinising the way that we work and facing increased pressures that affect the choices available to us in our careers. By adapting to these new challenges and providing vital support to your employees, you can beat the great resignation. 

And don’t forget, a mentoring program is an excellent way to do this. 

Here at Guider we make mentoring easy and accessible and would love to chat to you about how to implement effective mentoring in your organisation today! Book a discovery call below👇💜


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