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Women leading 'The Great Resignation.' Culture, childcare contribute, research finds

Posted at 9:22 AM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 13:28:44-05

Watch this report Wednesday on TMJ4 News at 10 p.m.

MILWAUKEE — A recent study shows women are quitting their jobs in record numbers.

"We were surprised that 50 percent of working women in the state of Wisconsin are actively considering quitting their jobs. That’s 25 percent higher than the national average," said Kimberly Kane with Kane Communications, which conducted the study.

Since the study was published, 5 percent of the women surveyed have actually quit. In our Two Americas series, we found the reasons vary depending on which region of our state you look at.

Account supervisor Katharine Foley knows new moms like her are under pressure. "Having an employer that understands and trusts that you will get the work done. It might not be between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. but they know and believe you can get it done on your time, is so key," said Foley.

Foley also blogged about her feelings here.

The study by Kane Communications in Milwaukee supports how Foley feels: Work will not be 'business as usual.'

42 percent of African-American women said they felt undervalued in their current role.

Chytania Brown with Employ Milwaukee believes the women are not talking about pay, but workplace culture. "I got employers saying we're giving $2-3 more, we're giving $1,000-2,000 signing bonus, and we're still not getting people. What's the problem?" asked Brown.

Meanwhile in Green Bay, people are leaving in droves under 'The Great Retirement.' Josh Morby with Wisconsin Workforce Development Association says since the pandemic, there are 10 percent fewer people in the workforce who are 65 and older. That has employers changing job requirements for potential employees.

"A four-year baccalaureate degree required as opposed to a certification?" said Morby.

The study also showed childcare access is an issue everywhere. 81 percent of working moms in Wisconsin have jobs that do not provide access to childcare that they can afford. Some businesses in Green Bay are thinking about joining forces to tackle this issue.

"This group of employers were saying, 'can we create a childcare option that all of our employees could have access to?' It's close by, it's affordable," said Kimberly Kane.

Katherine Foley meanwhile says extra flexibility meant all the difference for her as a new mom. "Being at a workplace that understands you might have to run out to go take care of your kid if an accident happens is so critical," said Foley.

These are glaring issues that have only been magnified during the shutdown, and can no longer go ignored as the lights turn back on.

Employ Milwaukee performed its own study during the pandemic.

It asked: Is making more money more important than safety and flexibility?

  • 57.69 percent said no.
  • 17.95 said more money.
  • 16.67 said equal.
  • The rest not answered.

Kimberly Kane, CEO of Kane Communications Group will speak about the study’s findings as well as recommendations aggregated from Wisconsin working women and leaders for how employers can become an employer choice April 8 at the Wisconsin Workforce Development Association's conference. The WWDA's conference takes place April 7 & 8 in the Wisconsin Dells. Click here for more about the event.

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