Could the Great Resignation Impact Companies’ Diversity Attempts?

Could the “Great Resignation” impact companies’ ability to retain women technologists? The answer to that question could have significant ramifications on organizations’ longtime attempts to diversify their employee rankings. 

According to Qualtrics’ latest Employee Experience Trends Report, which surveyed 14,000 full-time employees worldwide, the percentage of women who intended to stay with their company dropped from 67 percent to 60 percent year-over-year. Women “leaders of leaders” intending to stay dropped 21 points, from 87 percent to 66 percent, which is a significant warning to any company that wants to retain its rising women managers and executives.

What’s behind this stark dip among senior women managers? Like any other employee, managers need support. “Give your leaders the resources—both the technology and talent—to better listen to and act on employee feedback,” the report recommends. When it comes to having difficult conversations with employees about inclusion and well-being, leaders need easy access to support materials. And when dealing with team burnout, leaders “need time to regroup and the flexibility to give their team some breathing space.”

Whatever their position within the organization, though, losing women and those from underrepresented groups can have an appreciable impact on company performance and morale. “With companies competing for the same highly skilled talent, action on DEIB [public diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging] and fostering a culture of belonging will be a key differentiator,” the report adds. “But our research shows there’s still a ways to go. Four in five (80 percent) senior leaders say their actions show they are genuinely committed to greater DEIB, while only three in five (58 percent) individual contributors say the same. Closing this gap will play a leading role in retaining people, too, making it one of the key areas of focus to get right during the Great Resignation.”

Other surveys have supported the idea that employees will leave a company that isn’t diverse enough. In August, for example, Wiley surveyed 2,030 technologists between the ages of 18 and 28, and found that 50 percent of them would potentially leave their current position because their company’s culture “made them feel uncomfortable.” Sixty-eight percent said they felt “uncomfortable in a job because of their gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background or neurodevelopmental condition.”

As millions of Americans consider whether to leave their current positions amidst this “Great Resignation,” companies must pay more attention to what their employees want, including diversity. But it’s not just about building a diverse workforce—it’s also about maintaining one. Executives must listen to women technologists, as well as those from underrepresented groups, and make sure they’re happy with their resources, salary, and mission.

3 Responses to “Could the Great Resignation Impact Companies’ Diversity Attempts?”

  1. Could the Great Resignation Impact Companies’ Diversity Attempts?

    “Give your leaders the resources—both the technology and talent—

    So are you saying that diversity is of primary importance and not the best talent?
    That would be suggesting that the best talent be passed over for a job in favor of “diverse” candidates. That’s not a sensible approach to success.

    • I don’t think that’s what the author implied, and he seems to be talking specifically about methods to lessen the potential for diverse employees to resign. Interestingly enough, these methods apply to retaining all employees, not just those considered to be contributing to a diverse workforce.

  2. Classify me as a ‘non-diverse’ and ‘retired-but-searching for post-retirement work’ engineer.

    Two daughters of two different neighbors are/were graduate engineers . . . now 30+ yo. Both gals have left the engineering profession.

    I don’t know the circumstances of one, but the other told me her disillusionment at being the ‘broker’ between domestic USA engineering work and the off-shore South Asian engineering/CAD overnight crews. She formerly worked for Bechtel in the San Francisco area.

    Although this does not figure into one of the major reasons in the article discussion, it does tie in a subtle way with the usual IT/off-shore discussions here.