The Impact of Women in the Workforce

It’s been called The SHECESSION.  

In anticipation of International Women’s Day, it brings to light the impact of women in the workforce – a crisis for corporate America and our greater society. #BreaktheBias

An inaugural  report  on women in healthcare, released last year, found that on many measures healthcare was one of the best industries for women. This year, findings determined that women make up around half of the healthcare workforce and experience a limited gender gap in promotions, a significantly better result than other industries such as financial services and automotive and industrial manufacturing. Moreover, women in healthcare positions reported higher career satisfaction and received more of what they requested in compensation negotiations.

While we have seen gains in the upward climb for women in senior positions, women continue to be drastically under-represented in leadership positions. The “broken rung” as it has been called continues to hold millions of women back from being promoted or considered for management positions. Women’s participation in the labor force had not yet returned to its 2000 peak by the time the coronavirus pandemic began.

Recent studies show that 100% of jobs lost in December 2020 were held by women while another 275,000 women left the workforce in January 2021.

Mothers who are reducing their work hours and leaving the labor force outright add up to $64.5 billion a year in lost wages and economic activity. Collectively, Hispanic and Black women accounted for 46% of the total decrease among women, but represent less than one-third of the female labor force in the U.S. The net 2.4 million women who left the labor force from February 2020 to February 2021 included 582,000 Hispanic women and 511,000 Black women

Studies show that women are good for both business and the economy, suggesting that companies are well-served by retaining female employees. For example, a global analysis of 22,000 firms demonstrated a positive correlation between women in corporate leadership and performance. An analysis of companies in London found that having women on a company’s executive committee results in a significantly greater average net profit. And McKinsey Global Institute estimates that engaging more women in the workforce could add $12 trillion in GDP globally.

The higher your salary and the longer you are out of the workforce, the more you sacrifice in unearned wages. For example, a woman aged 35 earning $120,000 per year would forgo roughly $1,225,000 in earnings by stepping away for five years. A 40-year-old with a $250,000 salary would give up more than $2.8 million over seven years.

However, when you discontinue working for pay, there are additional ‘hidden’ costs, such as your wage growth, the ability to contribute to a 401(k) plan and receive your employer’s match, the potential growth of these assets, your healthcare plan, and other benefits. You also may miss out on some Social Security benefits.

Men and Women sitting waiting for interview

Companies risk losing women in leadership – and future women leaders –unwinding years of painstaking progress toward gender equity and diversity. 

If women leaders leave the workforce, diverse women at all levels could lose their most powerful allies and champions. A Company’s commitment to gender and racial inclusion and equity is needed now more than ever.

“If companies rise to the moment with bold action, they can protect hard-won gains in gender diversity and racial inclusion and lay the foundation for a better workplace long after Covid-19 is behind us.” — McKinsey in partnership with – 2020

There are signs of Optimism

World events have had a distinct impact on conversations. While our healthcare workers have been on the frontlines, they are performing essential roles and has reinvigorated the visibility and reasons to continue to perform at a higher level–at all levels!

Whether you are thinking about re-entry into the workforce, looking for a traditional role, starting your own business or considering a new career in nonprofit healthcare, with a reputable organization like McGregor, which offers an experience that means  a place that values staff, combines a common purpose of joining hearts and hands to an organization’s mission–and one that thrives on compassion along with personal and professional growth–this may be a good place to begin your comeback!





The State of Women in the Workforce, Institute for Women, Ursuline College

The Hidden Costs of a Failing Child Care System, Center for American Progress

Women in Healthcare, McKinsey Company August 2020/Sept 2021, Women in the Workforce

Is Gender Diversity Profitable? Evidence from a Global Survey, Marcus Noland, Tyler Moran, and Barbara Kotschwar, Peterson Institute for International Economics, February 2016.

Ten Years of Insights into Gender Diversity, McKinsey & Company, 2012.

Firms with more female executives ‘perform better,’ BBC News, July 27, 2020.