by Michelle Keefe | November 1, 2022

MomUp’s Breakdown of the 2022 Women in the Workplace Report

Women in the Workplace, first launched by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company in 2015, is the largest study on the state of women in corporate America that gives companies insights and tools to advance gender diversity in the workplace. Their 2022 report focuses on how the pandemic has changed what women want from their employers, including the increasing importance of opportunity, flexibility, employee well-being, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

The report is divided into five parts:

  1. The state of the pipeline
  2. Why women leaders are switching jobs | Intersectional experiences
  3. Flexibility and remote and hybrid work
  4. The importance of managers
  5. Recommendations for companies

As an employer, the findings in this report give you insightful information on how to recruit and retain women within your organization. Having collected information from 333 participating organizations employing more than 12 million people and surveyed more than 40,000 employees, this report shares an extensive and remarkable amount of information.

To break it down for you, we’ve recapped all five parts to highlight stats, perspectives, and stories that stood out to us the most.

Breakdown of the Report
Part I: The State of the Pipeline

This part gave an overview of the corporate pipeline by gender and race, ranging from entry-level to c-suite positions. To no surprise, there’s less representation of women than men, although representation did increase from 2017 to 2022. Additionally, there’s less representation of women of color than white women.

Through these findings, the report identifies two goals companies should focus on to make meaningful and sustainable progress toward gender equality:

  1. Getting more women into leadership 
  2. Retaining the women leaders they already have, which will require pushing beyond common practices

Women especially need more representation in leadership roles, as those positions have the largest gap, at 2 to 3 times more men holding those positions than women. Although modest progress has been made, there’s still a lot more work to be done.

The report identifies the “broken rung” – the phenomenon where women in entry level positions are promoted to managerial positions at much lower rates than men – as the obstacle that’s holding women back.

A shocking statistic stated in the report is for every 100 men promoted from entry level to manager, only 87 women and 82 women of color are promoted. As shown in that stat, men greatly, and unfairly, outnumber women at the manager level. This leads into a bigger issue of women having difficulty catching up with men, as there aren’t enough women to promote into senior leadership positions. It ends up being a cycle that continues to expand the gap even further between these two genders.

Additionally, several groups of women are even less likely to be promoted to manager. For every 100 men promoted from entry level to manager, only 75 Latinas are promoted. It’s an even lower number for Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Indigenous women.

These statistics also give a deeper look into why women are leaving their current employers, and the report shares various quotes from women in leadership who have shared their stories and perspectives. A black woman and vice president of a company explains, “For the first time in my career, we’re seeing people leaving and going to companies with a more generous work from home policy. So I dug into the data, and I realized something about every single person leaving. They were all women.”

Getting more granular, the report also gives an overview of women in technical roles, as those positions are predominantly male. Women in these roles are twice as likely as women in any position to say they are often the only woman in the room at work, which means that women’s voices likely aren’t heard during many decision-making situations. This may explain why women in tech face higher rates of bias, as they are more likely to have their expertise questioned and be passed over for a chance to get ahead.

To put it simply: we need more women in leadership roles, and we especially need more women of color.

Part II: Why Women Leaders Are Switching Jobs | Intersectional Experiences

We’re in a time known as the “Great Breakup,” where many women are rightfully demanding more from their jobs and switching to new positions if they don’t get what they deserve. Women leaders are switching jobs at the highest rate ever seen, especially when compared to men in leadership. If this doesn’t change, this could cause serious long-term consequences for companies.

The report notes three factors that contribute to women leaving their positions:

  1. Women leaders want to advance, but they face stronger headwinds than men. They’re two times as likely as male leaders to be mistaken for someone more junior, and 37% of women leaders have had their ideas stolen by coworkers compared to only 27% of male leaders facing that same situation. Additionally, women have noticed that being a parent has been the reason why they’re passed over or denied for a raise or promotion.
  2. Women leaders work harder than their male counterparts and don’t get enough recognition for their work. This particularly shows in DEI work, as women leaders are two times more likely than male leaders to spend a substantial amount of time on it, and 40% of these women leaders share that this work isn’t acknowledged in performance reviews. Not being recognized for their hard work makes it more difficult for them to advance, and it also means that the amount of time and energy they put in their work causes them to be more likely to burn out than men and feel stretched thin.
  3. Women leaders want a better work culture. Not surprisingly, 49% of women leaders prioritize flexibility when deciding whether to stay with their current employer or switch into a new role, compared to 34% of men leaders. This is likely due to many women being parents and needing to accommodate for their children’s schedules as well as their own activities, hobbies, and passions. Additionally, women value an employer’s commitment to DEI, which means women leaders are 1.5 times more likely than their male counterparts to leave a company who doesn’t show that commitment.

Overall, we’re seeing that women have obstacles in their way that men don’t have that makes it difficult for them to advance, women aren’t seeing the recognition that they deserve, and women desire a flexible schedule that accommodates their lifestyle.

Bottom line? Support the women leaders in your organization in the way that they need.

Part III: Flexibility and Remote and Hybrid Work

There’s no doubt that the pandemic drastically revolutionized remote work, and once employees discovered the value in it, they don’t want to go back to working in an office each day – especially women.

This report found that employees who have a flexible work schedule are less likely to leave the company and feel happier at work. In fact, only 1 in 10 women want to work mostly on-site! Flexible work arrangements make it possible for employees, especially for women with disabilities, to balance their work and life responsibilities without feeling worn thin. Out of all of the companies that are offering remote and hybrid work, only 7% of them plan to pull back on these options in the next year. On the other hand, 32% of companies indicate that these options will expand due to the success they’ve seen.

A huge benefit of offering flexible work options is bringing in a more diverse talent pool. Employers are able to bring in some amazing candidates that might not have applied for an open position if remote work wasn’t an option. This approach also makes it possible for them to retain more employees from underrepresented groups.

Additionally, women experience less microaggressions when they work remotely, but potential downsides include:

  • Struggling to build a connection with colleagues
  • Making work more difficult for managers
  • Receiving less support

However, employers can implement a process to support flexible work options to ensure the success of their employees. They can do that by:

  1. Communicating plans clearly and outlining guidelines for flexible working arrangements
  2. Asking for feedback from employees to understand what’s working and what isn’t
  3. Prioritizing building relationships among employees and colleagues
  4. Having intention with in-person work
  5. Ensuring a fair playing field

Through this part, we learn that flexible work is highly attractive to potential employees and plays a large role in retaining current employees. However, there are caveats that need to be addressed and resolved to ensure success in this arrangement.

Part IV: The Importance of Managers

Who’s the key to retaining women? Managers.

However, in order for this to happen, managers also need the same support that all other employees do. Over the past few years, managers have had more responsibilities on their plate of ensuring the well-being, advancement, and inclusion of their employees, yet shifting to remote work has made this challenging for them, especially because their employers aren’t necessarily providing them with the training and resources they need to make this happen. This has directly resulted in 40% of managers feeling more burnt out.

How can employers support managers, then? There are two ways:

  1. Set them up for success by providing them with the tools they need to do their job well
  2. Hold them accountable and reward those who excel to increase their overall satisfaction

Employees will often mirror what their managers do, so if managers aren’t trained properly and don’t receive the support they need, it leads to issues down the line with employees.


Part V: Recommendations for Companies

Without a doubt, companies who have a better representation of women, especially women of color, are having more success. Rather than simply “checking the box” on implementing new policies and programs, companies need to:

  • Offer better training so managers are more equipped to support their teams
  • Create dedicated programs to make sure women get the mentorship and sponsorship they deserve
  • Provide a variety of benefits for women in the form of flexibility, emergency childcare benefits, and mental health supports

Companies also need to fix their “broken rung” by making sure that women and men are put up for promotions at similar rates, monitor outcomes to make sure they’re fair, and remove bias from their evaluation process.

In other words, companies need to walk the walk and prove that they’re making a change through actions rather than saying it’s something they’ll do.

How Does MomUp Support These Findings?

From our perspective as a  recruiting firm whose candidate base is largely made of women, Women in the Workplace accurately captures everything that we’re seeing and hearing from our talent pool who comes to us looking for a new position. At MomUp, we seek to bring better representation to organizations, particularly with women and women of color in leadership positions, and partner with organizations who understand, value, and offer flexible work arrangements.

Whether you’re an employer who also incorporates this approach into your mission or you’re a job seeker who wants to work for an organization that holds these values true, we’d love to partner with and support you.