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Survey Says 70% Women Who Took A Sabbatical Dropped Out Of The Workforce, 62% Blamed It On Organisation Culture

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I’d once heard a friend who worked in Human Resources complain about hiring women being a loss in the long run, because the attrition rate was so high with them. I couldn’t help but intervene in the conversation, and remind them that often, the reasons women leave their jobs are not of their own making, but of the gender roles that we bind them in. And this recent  The Brewing Soul Storm survey conducted by X-Leap, a division of KR Corporate Consultants, attests to the fact that not only do women who go on sabbaticals probably don’t get employed again, but a huge chunk of them blame the problematic structure of their organisations for quitting their jobs.

According to the survey, 70% women who took a sabbatical from their work completely dropped out of the workforce. Either they’ve begun business of their own from their home, or they’re still looking for jobs. Moreover, 62% of women who dropped out thus or are currently self-employed have blamed the organisation they work at, the culture and a lack of family support for their decision to leave their jobs. Which is rather sad, because this was happening especially on the mid-management level, which means these jobs were probably paying quite well and came with a lot of perks and potential. Yet, with the lack of proper support from the management and their own homes, the women were left with no choice but to let these positions go.

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While interviewing these women professionals, the survey found three distinct personality types that their candidates fit it—Roaring, Confident and Struggling. Roaring women were professionals who had a fantastic job and had their future rather planned out at their current workplace. Confident women were quite assured about their career path but were currently facing some obstacle that was hindering their progress. And Struggling ones were those who had no idea how their career would progress.

According to the survey’s findings, only 17% of women classified as Roaring took a sabbatical from work, as compared to 52% classified as Confident and 59% of those classified as Struggling. Furthermore, 90% of women cited reasons like child rearing, maternity leaves and relocation for taking the sabbatical. Like I side, gender roles! For the Struggling personas, the reasons most popular for taking a sabbatical were health or the fact that they were still looking for a job.

What role do organisations play in driving these female professionals to take sabbaticals?

The survey highlighted the major challenges that women would face in the workplace that could prompt them to take sabbaticals from work. A lack of inclusion due to the patriarchal mindset on a management or even employee levels could be one of the reasons. If female staff is considered as not pulling their weight at work, not being given enough opportunities, mansplained constantly and undermined, or even sexually harassed, that could cause women to drop out of their jobs.

One of the biggest reasons is clearly the gender disparity in salary. Women, even if they are as qualified or sometimes over qualified than men, continue to receive lower compensation than their male counterparts. What’s more, if they demand what they’re worth, they’re gaslit into thinking that they’re not good enough at their jobs, still too green and inexperienced, or simply that they need to prove themselves. As we’ve seen in the debate for period leaves, women are afraid of being perceived as the weaker sex if they take leaves for periods or childrearing or family issues. And this further convinces them that they are not deserving of equal pay.

Also Read: Wonder Woman 1984 Director Patty Jenkins Was Ready To Walk Away Over Pay Disparity. Can We Please Pay Women Their Dues?

Saiket Ghosh, Managing Partner of X-Leap spoke about the survey, saying “Our survey indicated that 34% of girls aren’t constructive of their profession aspirations being met on the present office and perhaps on ‘attrition watchlist’. Organisations have to stem the rot straight away as there’s a massive proportion of disengaged ladies workers.”

Clearly, this survey is indicative of the fact that women want to work but due to the right support and inherent gender bias that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, their careers are forced to stagnate and their ambitions put on a hold or shifted course. So maybe, rather than putting women on an ‘attrition watch’, we could enable them to do their job minus all this pressure?

27-Years-Old Vanshika Goenka Is Helping Women Find Jobs In The Pandemic With Her Online Career Community “Kool Kanya.” How Empowering This Is!


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