Since the pandemic, a record number of employees are thinking about leaving their jobs and many have already done so, according to a McKinsey report (Great Attrition or Great Attraction – The Choice is Yours) based on research in the USA, the UK, Australia, and Canada.

This trend is particularly noticeable in many women who feel the corporate world is no longer satisfying their needs . This may lead to inner resignation (deadly for the organisation) or actual resignation, when women leave to seek new (ad)ventures, increasingly in start-ups or smaller enterprises where they feel more in control.

High potential women with career aspirations, especially Millenials and Gen Z’s  need nurturing and mentoring. They will be watching how far they can go in the company and eager to know what internal support they will be given. They are most likely to dive off into a non-corporate world.

Female managers may be particularly susceptible to thoughts of a new life outside the organisation.

They will be looking at the competition and at ways to achieve a better work-life mix. The McKinsey report shows that employees are now more often than not prepared to leave their job without another one lined up. This may be because of a manager, or the organisational culture that they feel is not supportive of their needs.

Some women will feel they have reached a plateau in their career and are feeling “stuck”. They may be very good at their job  but have stayed at the same job or at the same level too long; they may feel unappreciated and unsupported by their manager. If you want to keep them, you have to offer them something attractive, a new opportunity, a chance at learning a new area, a promotion.

Your senior women must be made to feel they are valued and cherished, with enough space to bring their projects to fruition and to create their legacy.

Organisations, and HR officials, can stem this tide by proving that they are serious about listening to the needs of their female staff, and so retain their best female talent. As we all know, a vibrant and efficient workforce is a balanced workforce of male and female employees.

First, the organisation must show it really cares.

This is the key factor in all employee relations.

  • Listen to what your female staff are saying.
  • Consider surveys and focus group sessions with your female staff to find out what they want.
  • Analyse the results and convey them to senior leadership; they must be acted upon.

A different kind of leadership is called for in these times, and some managers may not have got the memo. Help your managers and leaders to show they care. Some may need extra support in understanding the new modalities of management. This is where your skills at strategic influencing come into play.

Look at your career support and talent retention programmes.

Check that there are career development programmes for women at all stages of their career in place with targeted coaching and mentoring.

Your entrants need help in navigating the new work environment. Induction programmes only go so far; follow-up is needed.

HR officers can influence the culture of their organisation and make clear: this is a place where women’s career development is a key element of our success.


Career and Leadership Coach Susan Doering is passionate to help clients solve challenges and achieve their goals, by guiding, empowering and enabling them to work at their best.

Read more blogs from Susan – Should we career coach women and men differently