One in 4 women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce because of Covid-19, according to a new report from McKinsey & Co. and the Sheryl Sandberg-founded organization Lean In — a statistic that may not surprise women juggling caregiving duties and working from home during the pandemic.
Inflexibility at work, pressure to be “always on” at work, housework and caregiving burdens related to the pandemic, worry that their performance is being judged negatively because of pandemic-related caregiving duties, discomfort sharing challenges they are facing with colleagues or bosses and feeling unable to bring their whole self to work are among the factors that the study found to be predictive of an employee considering downshifting or leaving the workforce.
“Although these factors hurt all employees, some groups of women experience certain challenges at higher rates. For example, mothers are more likely than fathers to worry that their performance is being negatively judged due to their caregiving responsibilities,” the study states. “Women in senior leadership are more likely than men at the same level to feel as though they are ‘always on.’ And Black women are more likely than women and men overall to feel like they can’t bring their whole selves to work.”
The study comes in the wake of 865,000 women dropping out of the U.S. workforce last month, compared to 216,000 men — more than the 661,000 jobs that were added to the job market in August and September — part of the country’s first “female recession,” The 19th reported this week. Read more via BizJournals