Covid-19 has disrupted the workplace in ways that no one could have predicted. While everyone is facing unprecedented challenges, one group that has been severely impacted is women. And we’re not just talking about women losing their jobs. According to the 2020 Women in the Workplace study—the largest study on the state of women in corporate America—1 in 4 women is considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely. Another survey conducted by Chief, the private network driving more women into positions of power, reveals that the pandemic is forcing women to change course even if they weren’t directly laid off.
Some highlights from the survey include:
- 30% of executive women say the pandemic is knocking them off their professional career course
- Nearly a quarter (24%) of those surveyed are planning on leaving their companies sooner due to the company’s response to the pandemic
- A whopping 70% took on more professional responsibilities since the start of the pandemic
Women who remain in the workplace are taking on an overwhelming number of duties, putting them at increased risk of burnout. These findings aren’t surprising since the Women in the Workplace study also reports that working moms find themselves with an additional 20 hours of responsibilities at home during the pandemic related to child care and more on top of their traditional 40-hour workweek.
Entrepreneurship provides more flexibility
As Stacy Francis, President and CEO of Francis Financial, shared in a recent Forbes article, starting a business allows women to reenter the workforce when they are ready, in a way that supports their lifestyle needs. “I launched my fee-only wealth management firm focused on serving women in 2002,” says Francis, “and doing so gave me the flexibility I needed. I love my work, and I love that my business allows me to be present in my children’s lives.” Women are still the primary caregivers, whether we’re talking about children or aging parents. Being your own boss generally allows for more freedom than working for someone else. This additional autonomy is beneficial when the family is the number one priority. Setting your own schedule also makes it easier to make time for exercise and a healthy lifestyle—another reason women are turning to entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship allows for more rapid advancement
Women are better educated and more active in the labor force than ever before. Yet despite these gains, their representation in top business positions still lags behind that of men. Research shows that for every 100 men promoted or hired into a role as a first-time manager, only 72 women are promoted or hired. The imbalance is greater for women from ethnic minorities, with only 68 Latinas and 58 black women hired to managerial roles per 100 men. The sixth edition of Deloitte Global’s Women in the Boardroom report found that women hold just 16.9% of board seats globally. At this rate, it will take more than three decades to achieve gender parity in the boardroom. Not surprisingly, women are turning to entrepreneurship to advance their careers more quickly.
5 Morning Habits Of Highly Successful People
This Is How To Express The Hardest 3 Words To Say
Making The Most Of Your Vacation: How To Actually Take Time Off
Entrepreneurship gives you more control
The belief that working for a company offers the most stability is a myth. And there is no better confirmation than the events of 2020. Most women have experienced a layoff or reorganization at some point in their corporate life. These scenarios often result in organizational changes that are out of one’s control and can have a negative career impact. Working for yourself means you are in the driver’s seat. This is a powerful statement because you not only have control over your business activities but also with whom you work—including clients and business partners.
Entrepreneurship offers more fulfillment
Many women are leaving corporate life because their jobs just aren’t fulfilling anymore (if they ever were). Starting a business allows you to find meaning and gives you the ability to leave behind a legacy that you can be proud of. To be truly successful, you need to find work that you’re passionate about. In a fantasic book called Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck, the authors in their research found that without heart, few businesses become truly successful. In fact, they say that “pure brain-based IQ is probably the least essential quality for business success.”
If your corporate career seems stifling and unfulfilling, maybe it’s finally time to consider entrepreneurship. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years, 45% during the first five years and 65% during the first ten years. Yet while the prospect of starting a business might seem daunting, the benefits may still outweigh the potential drawbacks. Because in the end, failing at something you love is more rewarding than succeeding at something that you just don’t care about.