Why Female Leaders Left Corporate

As many of you know, I have been conducting research on the best practices of millennial females VP+. While there are many, there are the  top 5 challenges reported that I’ve distilled down in my strategic research. I’ve written and published articles previously on how VP+ millennial women have overcome these challenges: 

1. Gaining access to roles with sole responsibility of running a business unit or division
2. Addressing microaggressions

3. The wage gap and negotiation

4. Flexibility in work location and / or hours

5. Recognition and feeling truly valued at work

My other articles published cover best practices, and I’ll continue to write about these. However, it’s important to understand that there’s not a silver bullet or magic ticket in handling these as my findings have largely informed my perspective that it’s a gender power struggle that the lack & unfamiliarity of females in leadership in male dominated industries is truly what we have to tackle. 

But if we take a closer look at the reasons for the mass exodus of millennial female leaders that went from a trickle to a leaky pipe during the pandemic, the ROI just is not there for many females who believe they have high earning potential. 

I began to form my updated point of view on the topic of why millennial women mid career leave their employers based on my own experience as well as research studies such as McKinsey’s Women in Leadership study, and in my interviews. 

Why mid level business women do not feel the ROI is there for them to stay in corporate: 

  1. Many women feel being self-sufficient is non-negotiable – with the divorce rates above 50% during their childhood, many of these women saw the repercussions of their mothers not having their own careers, or having to scramble to invent one later in life.
  2. There are next to no part time options that provide at least half of their current income- although job sharing has been a topic of discussion amongst mothers it has not become widely adopted in corporate America. 
  3. Women don’t have time to wait around-  Women are acting with urgency on behalf of their children- research shows us that women tend to act on bravery not on behalf of themselves – but on behalf of their children or out of those they love. 
  4. It’s never been easier to start a business – with social media, the internet and the global connectivity we have now, the barrier to entry is quite low, relatively speaking comparatively to years past.
  5. Inflation has caused a need for two full incomes to support a family or even try to retire. A stay at home mom situation is not typical now, largely due to the impact inflation has had generally on millennials just to live. 

At this point in many women’s careers they have learned their trade, developed a highly accomplished skillset and are seasoned. However, because sustaining a business requires skills that many females were not able to acquire in their corporate careers up to this point due to gender access discrimination I talk about previously, the skills of managing financial statements, solely being responsible for generating revenue, and recruiting talent are some of the areas in which new entrepreneurs struggle. Those with small children have demands on their time that they didn’t have previously, so although they are smart and capable of figuring it out on their own, now that they are saddled with all of it at the same time they don’t have the time to devote to each of these independently. They don’t have the team or money to hire a team like they did in corporate. This is why you see many women going back to corporate in lesser titles, deciding to scale back to a lower position or joining another company. 

This is such an unfortunate situation because with increased economic power for women and gender diverse high earnings there are so many benefits. Our communities experience more growth, children have more opportunities and needs met, and domestic violence rates decrease. I could go on, things like our GDP have propensity to increase significantly, not to mention female run companies tend to have better ecological impacts, more impactful DEI efforts and corporate social responsibility as a whole. 

Given my background of growing sales, managing client relationships, financial statements, leading a team of a few up to hundreds globally, been a recruiter, hired, fired, worked in tech, earned a Master’s in Business Administration. Experiencing this whole situation myself as a millennial female in business I decided that I wanted to do what I could to not only keep women in business but help their businesses reach their full potential. That’s how Empowered Engagement LLC was born. The mission is to be the engine behind the scenes for businesses owners that need a formal strategy to boost their sales that they can just execute. Augmented sales staff to give them the boost needed without taking on the liability and cost of hiring full time. Support from someone who has done it successfully, and knows how to calculate the exact sales and marketing activities required to hit financial goals. Share best practices amongst related and complementary businesses to help other female and marginalized business owners to sustain growth for themselves and their families, and communities while alleviating so much of the stress. Empowered Engagement is based in Atlanta, GA and we have felt a warm reception from founders and owners here, we are thrilled to support their growth.

Reference: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/women-in-the-workplace

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