Keryn Francisco has worked in the clothing design industry for 25 years. But the single mom and self-described workaholic said she left her job two years ago because she found it more and more difficult to juggle her responsibilities at home and her responsibilities at work.
“I was working really hard. I felt like my son, who was about eight years old at the time, had started to drift away a little bit because I was so distracted with work. And, you know, our conversations became very transactional. It became more about like: ‘eat your dinner, put your shoes on, go to bed, have your breakfast,'” Francisco said.
Francisco asked her company to give her a more flexible schedule. but they said no, according to Francisco. When the corporation moved its headquarters to another city, she decided not to move and quit.
“So, I realized that either I had to make the choice between working in this environment for this company, with its culture of not being supportive of women and of having that flexible schedule and prioritizing our kids,” Francisco said.
And others are demanding remote work options. McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org talked to 41,000 women about their jobs for a new report. The survey shows 64% of women with flexible jobs are unlikely to leave their company in the next year.
“They really prioritize flexibility, and I think that’s because many women are working a double shift at home,” says LeanIn.org CEO Rachel Thomas. “We also know they prioritize employee well-being, diversity, equity, inclusion, and they they’re doing it themselves. They’re showing up as better people leaders. They’re fostering inclusion on their teams, and now they’re expecting their companies to do the same,” Thomas says.
According to the report, women continue to struggle with advancement: for every 100 men promoted to management, only 87 women are. Only 1-in-4 executives is a woman and only 1-in-20 is a woman of color.
“We know women of color – they rise to the ranks more slowly than [White] women, and more slowly than men of color. And we know why: they get less support from managers, less sponsorship from senior leaders, and they experience more of those biased behaviors and headwinds,” Thomas says.
The lack of promotion has many women quitting or considering it, according to Thomas.
“Women still are dramatically underrepresented, despite the glacial progress we’ve seen. And now precious women leaders are leaving their companies at a higher rate. To give you a sense of the scale of the problem – for every woman at the director level who’s promoted, two women directors are leaving. So, one woman up, two women out,” says Thomas.
After leaving her job two years ago, Francisco decided to start her own design consultancy business. She took a job at a major retailer earlier this year but was laid off nine months later as part of a company reorganization. She’s back to self-employment and is enjoying the flexibility, but is keeping the door open.
“I do believe that the next company that I will work for, if I have to make that choice, would be one that supports women and understands the kind of responsibilities that we have,” Francisco says
In the report, 71% of HR leaders said remote work has helped their organization hire and retain more employees from diverse backgrounds.