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The unique needs of women are shaping talent recruitment and retainment in Milwaukee

50% of working women in Wisconsin are thinking about quitting their jobs
Posted at 5:27 AM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 08:46:29-04

MILWAUKEE — The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath is forcing companies to rethink everything about talent retention and recruitment, including the unique needs of women in the workforce.

50% of working women in Wisconsin are thinking about quitting their jobs. That's according to new research from Milwaukee's Kane Communications Group.

The data comes from surveys of 980 working women in Wisconsin. 29% of Hispanic/Latina women did leave their jobs because they felt undervalued, a rate six times higher than any other racial or ethnic group. And the report underlines that access to childcare is a major issue for moms everywhere. 81% said they have jobs that offer no child care support.

"When I had our first baby, all of a sudden, I felt like my world had just shifted in ways I could have not even predicted," said Sarah Maio, VP of marketing and communications at the Wisconsin Center District. Maio is now a mom of four and holds a leadership role at WCD that comes with the power to create positive change.

"I feel a huge amount of responsibility to help curate and drive the way that we are going to manage this process," said Maio. "Certainly to all staff, but with a keen eye and focus on the working mom."

Marty Brooks, the CEO of WCD, pointed to Maio as someone who helps hold him accountable. He wants his company to be known as one where women feel valued and connected. "I am not a woman in the workforce. I am not a minority in the workforce," acknowledged Brooks. "So I can't see it through everyone else's lens."

It's why Brooks hired Kane Communications Group to create surveys that foster feedback from all employees. It ultimately became a tool to develop programs to increase job satisfaction. One change it's already sparked is free parking for all full and part-time employees. "It seems like a little thing," said Brooks, "But most event-related people, when they work at an arena or stadium or theater, don't get parking provided. So they're parking on the street. They're getting a ticket and it's a real hassle."

Maio believes the communication loop they've created with Kane's help is working. "To me — the survey, being completely anonymous — is just an ideal way for us to be able to get a pulse check," she said. "And for people to tell our leadership members the truth about what's going on in ways that we might not otherwise see. There is such valuable feedback there — and there's some truth in every narrative."

The Wisconsin Center District plans to use future surveys to benchmark against their own data and the data in the Kane Insights Report.

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