Deloitte: Working women face alarming levels of burnout

What relevant research shows


Extensive burnout and lack of flexible work continue to hamper progress in supporting women workers, according to the latest Deloitte report, "[email protected] 2022: A Global Outlook ».

The survey reveals that 53% of women say their stress levels are higher than last year and almost half feel exhausted.

This burnout is one of the main factors driving women away from their employers: almost 40% of women who are actively looking for a new employer cite it as the main reason. More than half of the employees surveyed want to leave their employer in the next two years and only 10% plan to stay with their current employer for more than five years.

Representing the views of 5.000 women in 10 countries, the survey shows worrying long-term consequences, as stress rates and incidents of harassment or petty aggression remain high. The survey also sheds light on worrying findings about the "new regularity" of work, as nearly 60% of women working in hybrid models (arrangements that include any combination of long-distance work and office work) say they have already felt excluded. .

"Despite the fact that many employers have implemented new ways of working designed to improve flexibility, our research shows that these new arrangements run the risk of excluding the very people who could benefit most from them, by "The majority of women surveyed have experienced exclusion in a hybrid work environment," says Emma Codd, Deloitte Global Inclusion Leader. "The number of women reporting increased stress and exhaustion is a major concern and employers are struggling to deal with it, as evidenced by the fact that burnout is the main reason why some women are currently seeking new employment. "The findings of this study show the importance of actions beyond politics - those that truly incorporate wellbeing, flexibility and a daily culture of respect and inclusion."

Stress and exhaustion

Stress, exhaustion and limited development opportunities drive women away from their employers.

53% of women say their stress levels are higher than last year and almost half feel exhausted. In addition, almost half of the women surveyed rated their mental health as poor / very poor. One-third have been fired from their jobs due to their mental health burden, however only 43% feel comfortable talking about mental health issues in the workplace.

The number of women looking for a new role at the time of the survey increased compared to last year, with 10% claiming that they were in active search. 40% of this group cited burnout as the main reason for their dismissal. For those who had already left an employer since the beginning of the pandemic, the lack of opportunities for career advancement was the reason most mentioned (22%).

In terms of future plans, the outlook is bleak for employers: More than half of women plan to leave their employer within two years. This phenomenon is more pronounced for women in middle and non-managerial roles, with less than a quarter of women in these roles planning to stay with their employer for more than two years. Only 10% of women surveyed plan to stay with their current employer for more than five years.

Problems and challenges

Problems in the workplace continue, as flexibility remains limited and hybrid work presents additional challenges.

While many organizations in the past year have turned to strategies for integrating flexible and hybrid work models, many women say they have not yet felt the benefits of these new ways of working. Only 33% of women say their employers apply flexible work policies, and when asked about the policies their organization had introduced during the pandemic, only 22% reported flexibility about where and when they work. In addition, 94% of women surveyed believe that looking for a flexible job will affect their chances of being promoted.

In addition to flexibility, adopting hybrid work has presented additional challenges. Nearly 60% of women working in hybrid environments feel excluded from important business meetings, and 45% say they do not have enough exposure to managers, a critical element of their professional development. Worryingly, hybrid work does not seem to provide the predictability that women with family responsibilities may need, with only 26% saying that their employer has set clear expectations about how and where they work.

This year's survey also found that women who work in a hybrid environment are much more likely to report experiencing micro-aggression than those who work solely physically or remotely. Overall, the percentage of women who have experienced exclusionary behaviors in the workplace last year has increased from 52% in 2021 to 59% in 2022. Exactly half of women say they have experienced petty aggression, while 14% have experienced harassment. Concerning the denunciation of these exclusionary behaviors, there is still a fear of "professional retaliation", as 93% believe that reporting such behaviors will negatively affect their careers. Only 23% of petty attacks were reported to employers, compared with 66% of reported harassment behaviors.

Exclusion behaviors

Intersectionality is important as women from different backgrounds face increased challenges.

While exclusionary behaviors affect the majority of workers surveyed, women in ethnic minorities in their home countries, LGBT + women, and those with lower administrative or non-managerial roles are more likely to experience them. Many women feel less optimistic about their career prospects than they did 12 months ago.

Women belonging to ethnic minorities are more likely to feel exhausted than their counterparts belonging to their country's ethnic majority. They are also much more likely to report experiencing exclusion from informal interactions (15% vs. 10%) and feeling manipulated (9% vs. 2%).

LGBT + women are more than 10% more likely to say that they have been undermined by managers because of their gender and 7% more likely to say that they have been addressed in an unprofessional or disrespectful way than women who do not belong to the LGBT + community.

In addition, burnout levels vary by occupational level. 61% of women in middle management positions and younger women (aged 18 to 25) report feeling exhausted, proving that high levels of burnout are experienced to a greater extent by women in these occupational groups. These women were also more likely to report that they planned to leave their employer within two years.

Business benefits

More and more employers are achieving benefits for both women and gender equality leaders

As organizations strive to rebuild a resilient workforce, many can take the example of a group of employers who have already built a work culture of inclusion, and support women's careers. Deloitte's research identified a group of "gender equality leaders", organizations that, according to the women surveyed, have created a real culture of inclusion that supports their careers, work-life balance, and promote inclusion.

Women who work for gender equality leaders report much higher levels of well-being and job satisfaction. Of the women who work for them, 87% say they receive adequate mental health support from their employer, and the same percentage feel comfortable talking about their mental health at work. They also report much more positive experiences than hybrid work. It is noteworthy that of these, only 3% feel exhausted.

While it is obvious that women benefit from working for gender equality leaders, there are also clear business benefits: None of the women working for them are currently looking for a new job and only 9% plan to leave in the next 1 - 2 years. In fact, 90% evaluate their motivation for their work as good or extremely good.

"Creating and maintaining a true, inclusive culture should be at the forefront of any corporate agenda," said Michele Parmelee, Deputy CEO of Deloitte Global and Chief People and Purpose Officer. "This means that organizations need to address burnout, prioritize the mental well-being of their employees, and approach hybrid work with inclusion and flexibility policies that work effectively for women. "There is a unique opportunity to build on the progress that has already been made to ensure that women of all backgrounds can thrive in a fair and inclusive workplace."