“I think it’s possible to have flexibility while also having career advancement.”

April 06, 20162 minute read

— One of the respondents to a recent survey conducted by Crain’s Chicago Business and The Chicago Network to find out why women leave their jobs. The most prominent reason was that women felt they weren’t being paid as much as their male counterparts, but recognition, culture, and opportunities for advancement were other key factors.

The quote about flexibility was from a woman who felt that having children and requesting more flexibility was often interpreted as a woman not being interested in advancing her career.

According to the report in Crain’s,” Of the 1,000-plus women who took the survey, 42 percent voluntarily left positions within the past five years because they didn’t feel recognized and didn’t see opportunities for advancement. That’s 2 women for every 5 across a breadth of industries who are highly concentrated in management, upper management and the C-suite.

In the same issue of Crain’s, there is an opinion piece titled “Stop talking about closing the persistent wage gap. Pay up.” The author, Kate Benson, president and CEO of The Chicago Network, writes that women’s confidence that their pay is comparable to that of their male counterparts falls, likely a strong reason that so many millennial women lower their aspirations for senior positions not long after entering the workforce.”

She goes on to say, “It’s time to break this cycle for one simple reason. In the fierce competition for the best talent, companies can’t afford to lose qualified women if they hope to innovate and prosper.” Benson points out that companies such as Discover, Deloitte Consulting and CDW, by “creating sponsorship programs and providing coaching and honest and direct feedback, have played roles in creating a culture where women are positively encouraged to advance.”

At the AWESOME Symposium on April 27-29, one of the Up-Close Conversations will take place with Christie Smith, who leads Deloitte University Leadership Centers for Inclusion and Community Impact.

Learn more about the Symposium.