Work Life

Why do senior women leave their jobs?

McCarthy Mentoring Executive Program Sydney

A new study by global bank Citi looked at the reasons behind their troubling attrition rate of senior females. Surveying 500 men and women who had left the organisation from around the globe, the findings were interesting and sometimes surprising.

These are a few of the discoveries:

  1. Women are loyal. Compared to the men who had left the women had worked with the organisation for longer and many took a lot longer to decide to leave.”There seems to be a loyalty dynamic at play with our senior women that is more prevalent than our male cohort,” Minashi writes.
  2. Women talk to their bosses and HR. While fewer men had discussed their plans with their bosses or HR, 90% of women talked with their manager ahead of time and 50% of women spoke with their HR partner. “I believe this represents a huge opportunity for organisations in that we can raise manager capability to hold meaningful career conversations and encourage greater connectedness in terms of talent and mobility discussions,” Minashi writes.
  3. Flexibility or work life balance is not the problem. Most women surveyed strongly disagreed that flexibility or work life balance challenges had anything to do with their decision to leave. “The message came back loud and clear – “we are here to work, we want large, complex, exciting leadership challenges. Let me worry about what is going on at home”,” Minashi writes.
  4. Family is rarely the reason women leave their jobs. The global study showed just 4% of females who left did so to stay at home. Sixty-three percent went to other corporate roles in the financial services sector – exactly the same as the percentage of men – and 22% started their own businesses.
  5. Female breadwinners are on the rise. Two-thirds of the women in the study reported that they were their family’s main breadwinner. “The mortgage, kids’ education, pensions and financial planning are being funded and supported by senior women as much as the traditional male breadwinner ever was. Promotions, pay and career path are all as equally important,” Minashi writes.
  6. Tipping point. “Female attrition seems to be led by an accumulation of micro disappointments rather than one significant event. It wasn’t the promotion people missed out on, or the change in business model but rather the growing frustration that career pace and trajectory were not aligned with expectations,” Minashi writes.

Read full article by Georgina Dent, 30 July 2014



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Manage your work, manage your life

McCarthy Mentoring Executive Program Sydney

The problem: senior executives in this generation feel they can’t achieve “balance” through constant juggling which prevents them from engaging meaningfully at work or at home.

The solution: after five years of interviewing 4,000 executives (44% female and 54% male) from 51 countries, HBR found the executives were more focused – and effective – when they made deliberate choices about which opportunities to pursue in both realms.

The outcome: leaders who carefully manage their own human capital in this way maintain a higher degree of satisfaction professionally and personally.

The main finding was to zero in on what really matters. In particular, three key points were made:

  1. Life happens. Be aware that even the most dedicated executives may have their priorities upended by a personal crisis and it is not wise to ignore this possibility.
  2. There are multiple routes to success. Different work/life balance solutions work for different individuals and families. Some have stay-at-home partners, others make sacrifices to allow both to work. Decisions have to be made about where to concentrate efforts and questions about childcare, at home support, work travel and even how they manage communication from home eg allowing smartphones at the dinner table, need to be asked.
  3. No one can do it alone.  Of the many paths to success, none can be walked alone. A strong behind-the-scenes support network is crucial – and members of that network must have their needs met too.

Read the full article here

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Pamela Denoon Lecture: Wendy McCarthy AO

Wendy McCarthy celebrates the achievements of feminism, reflects on her experiences and reinforces the importance of further cultural change in her Pamela Denoon Lecture last month.

“Glass ceilings have been shattered, sticky floors have been smoothed, male champions have emerged but those statistics tells us there is a long road ahead for the women in Australia to hold up half the sky.”

Speaking on the topic “Has feminism failed Australian women” at the ANU March 11, Wendy asks how the F-word became so scary and offers suggestions on how to reframe some of the key issues in order to retain the hard won victories.

Please read the full speech here


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Serendipity is not a career plan

Ernst & Young Tax Partner, Antoinette Elias – one of the two first female tax partners at EY – believes the new policies encouraging women’s employment by the Business Council of Australia would have made a difference to gender imbalance in her industry.

She says her own career progression was helped by other “well-wishes” and serendipidous moments at crucial times rather than a HR process. Yet not all women benefit from such supportive colleagues.

One of BCA’s recommendations is to fast track women’s careers in their pre-child rearing years so that they are at a more senior level when they take maternity leave. Research shows that women in more senior roles and more likely to come back to work.

It also suggests identifying talented women at an early stage and coaching them to overcome any tendencies to undersell themselves.

Read full articles here:

Business Council of Australia’s radical gender targets, Fiona Smith, AFR, Tues 5th November 2013

Serendipity is not a career plan, Fiona Smith, AFR, Tues 5th November 2013


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Trust is the key to the new work-life balance

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Microsoft Australia’s Managing Director argues the business case for remote working and says lack of trust seems to be at the heart of many managers’ reluctance to allow people to do it.

Read full article by Pip Marlow, Microsoft Australia’s Managing Director, in the SMH Wednesday 6 November 2013.


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