New Report Reveals Increasing Number of Women in Leadership Roles Exiting Their Jobs

April 28, 2023 : According to a report from McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org, women leaders in senior management roles in corporate America are leaving their jobs at a higher rate than men. About 10.5% of female leaders left their company in 2021 compared with 9% of male leaders, marking the highest rate of voluntary departures since McKinsey began collecting data in 2017.

The report is based on data from more than 300 organizations with over 12 million employees combined. The researchers say work culture, microaggressions, and being overworked and under-recognized are pushing more women to leave. The pandemic has also affected women leaders, who are more likely to be responsible for their family’s housework and caregiving, making it harder for them to strike a work-life balance.

Moreover, women are twice as likely as men to spend substantial time on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, but 40% say the work is not acknowledged in performance reviews. Women leaders are twice as likely as men to be mistaken for someone more junior and more likely to see a co-worker get credit for their ideas.

Rachel Thomas, CEO of LeanIn.Org, stated that this trend of women leaders departing could spell disaster for companies because women in leadership are already underrepresented, and now they’re losing the precious leaders they do have. Women leaders leaving can also hurt young employees, who look up to the more experienced women leaders.

McKinsey senior partner Lareina Yee said diversity is good for business, and a 2020 report from McKinsey found that companies in which women made up at least 30% of the executive team were 48% more likely to outperform the national industry median. Therefore, McKinsey and LeanIn.Org suggest that companies offer more flexible and remote work options to create an environment for ambitious, talented women to succeed.


While women are just as ambitious as men leaders, Thomas said they receive more signals that it will be harder for them to advance at their company. The report found that two women directors left their company for every woman at a director level who got promoted in 2021. Certain women can face additional barriers to advancement due to race, sexual orientation or disability, according to the report.

In conclusion, McKinsey and LeanIn.Org suggest that companies must work harder to retain women in leadership roles, as losing them could prove detrimental to companies. They must create a more inclusive and flexible work environment to enable women to thrive.