Employees face more stress than ever, but women especially. During the pandemic, many women took on new and expanded roles in the workplace and at home. Women make up more than half of the workforce, and they’re also responsible for most household tasks, including childcare.
With regular disruptions to schools and daycares, plus new job responsibilities as organizations seek efficiencies, a record number of women have left the workforce altogether.
The Progression to Burnout
According to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace study, women are more burned out now than they were a year ago, and burnout escalates faster among women than among men. One in three women say they have considered downshifting their career or leaving the workforce in 2021, compared with one in four a few months into the pandemic. Additionally, four in ten women have considered leaving their company or switching jobs—and high employee turnover in recent months suggests that many of them are following through.
External and Internal Burnout Triggers
Women are more likely to experience burnout stressors or triggers, generated by a combination of external factors (what’s going on around you or things happening at work) and internal factors (who you are or your personality or tendencies).
According to Geri Puleo, PhD, SPHR, the most commonly reported external workplace triggers are:
- Poor leadership (most frequent)
- Lack of organizational caring
- Negative co-workers
- Politics or sabotage
- Lack of resources
- Overemphasis on return on investment (ROI)
- Work overload
- Poor communication (least frequent)
In addition, certain workplace conditions are more likely to affect women. Women tend to stay in the same job longer than men, which disproportionately exposes them to work-related stressors, including:
- Gender exclusion. Women in male-dominated occupations often must work harder than co-workers to prove an equal level of competence.
- Hostile social interactions and verbal abuse. Whether conscious or unconscious bias, managers and co-workers may disrespect employees based on gender.
- Pay gap. Even in C-suite jobs, lower comparative income level is linked to anxiety and depression.
- Sexual harassment. Yes, still, including physical, verbal, and cyber harassment.
- Lack of emotional support. Dismissive managers or HR departments exacerbate the problems.
Learn more about burnout triggers for all your employees—but especially women—including the personality traits that can drive burnout in DDI’s blog.