The 'Great Resignation' offers great opportunity for women in tech

31 March 2022
In The News

The 'Great Resignation' should be viewed as an opportunity for organizations to review their support for women and better understand why so many women are leaving the workforce and what businesses need to do – or not do – to hire and retain them.

The difficulties women face holding down a career while juggling family needs were thrown into sharp relief by the pandemic, which led to five million women dropping out of the workforce. The problem stems from an over-reliance on systems that allow women to participate in the workforce, especially working mothers with school-aged children. When schools closed and childcare disappeared, there were no other replacement systems, affecting women’s ability to participate in the workforce, suggests Jess Von Bank, Head of Marketing at HR consulting firm Leapgen:

"Employers should care about that. That becomes an accommodation issue, that becomes a flexibility issue. What's happening with the Great Resignation is we're exposing all the stuff that was not ideal anyway. Everybody should have the equal opportunity to participate and contribute in the workforce in the way they want to and can, and that begs the conversation around permission - are we giving women permission to request accommodation?"

It seems not. While many men also lost their jobs during the pandemic, they have since made up all of the losses, Von Bank notes, while conversely, of the five million women who lost jobs, over two million have left the labor market entirely:

"They didn't find another job. Based on those statistics, the current level of participation of women in the labor market has backslid to 1988. We are in the same place as my daughters are growing up that we were when I was in grade school."

Sandwich generation

Offering true flexibility, with a policy of work from home as the norm, helps accommodate women, especially those in the sandwich generation caring for older parents and children. Just having the opportunity to take time away from work rather than having to rearrange school pickups or medical appointments, or deal with other family tasks can make a huge difference to women being able to remain in jobs.

Sharra Owens-Schwartz, Senior Director of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at Rocket Software, says:

"During this pandemic, women were more likely to support other employees that they manage with their balance and flexibility. They were more engaged in diversity, equity, inclusion efforts. With all that, and managing their own home and careers, they were burned out. This is the opportunity to look at ourselves and say"...Continue reading