BY THE NUMBERS
More Women and Minority Leaders Plan to Leave to Advance
Lack of Trust and Ineffective Leadership Are Driving Diversity Out the Door
At every level, women and minorities are significantly more likely to say they need to change companies to advance in their careers. As we looked at the underlying factors of those who intended to leave, there was little evidence that women and minorities were receiving significantly different experiences. In fact, there was little difference in how satisfied they were with their advancement rate, the development opportunities they were given, performance expectations, or work-life balance. And in many cases, minorities reported more favorable rates in these areas.
Rather, the underlying factors behind their intention to stay or leave were primarily related to the environment created by their company’s leaders. In order of impact, these are the top drivers of why leaders from diverse backgrounds stay to advance their careers:
- Senior leaders have built strong trust.
- Managers provide opportunities for team members’ growth and development.
- Organizational leaders have strong interpersonal skills.
- Managers listen and respond with empathy.
- Inclusion of different perspectives is a strong component of company culture and values.
Having senior leaders who build strong trust with employees is even more critical among mid-level leaders and executives. Among the 2,155 mid- and senior-level women and minority leaders in our study, 64% of those who did not trust their senior leaders said they felt they had to leave to advance. By comparison, only 27% of this group said they intended to leave when they trusted senior leaders at their organization.
Having senior leaders who build strong trust with employees is even more critical among mid-level leaders and executives.
The data creates a clear picture that companies cannot retain talented women and minority leaders through piecemeal approaches. Rather, they need to create a stronger leadership culture and environment that has inclusion woven into it.
Women are 1.5X more likely to leave their companies to advance their career than men.