New data from women’s leadership company Women Rising reveals an alarming divide among women to either step into new roles or step out of the workforce has emerged, warranting an urgent need to address issues facing women at work.

Women Rising surveyed 1200 women from various industries and roles about their experiences and goals in the workplace.

The resulting report, The Voice of Women at Work 2023, revealed that career development is key to retaining women; however, poor confidence, bias, burnout, and a lack of leadership make many unsure of their future career path.

Women Rising Founder and chief executive Megan Dalla-Camina says employers should be concerned by these findings.

“Women are leaving jobs and even whole careers behind because of leadership gaps that could be easily addressed,” she said.

According to the report findings, half (50 per cent) of those surveyed have considered switching careers in the past 18 months, 34 per cent have considered reducing their hours and a third (33 per cent) have contemplated taking a less demanding job.

Shockingly, 21 per cent of non-retirement-age women have pondered leaving the workforce altogether.

Promisingly, the report shows there’s no lack of ambition among women.

One in two (50 per cent) have thought about pursuing a promotion in the last 18 months, 44 per cent have considered asking for a pay rise, and almost a third (31 per cent) are looking to amplify and progress their careers by taking on a stretch assignment.

Yet less than one in 10 (eight per cent) are thriving in their job, and almost two-thirds (63 per cent) don’t believe they are fulfilling their potential at work.

Confidence, burnout and wellbeing were cited as significant challenges for women at work, with more than half (53 per cent) expressing feelings of self-doubt, 78 per cent experiencing burnout in the last 18 months, and 40 per cent impacted by stress or time pressure.

“While women are suffering from a lack of mentorship and sponsorship, they’re not sitting idly by waiting for their careers to happen. Many are ready to take action,” Ms Dalla-Camina said.

The Voice of Women at Work 2023 recorded that 24 per cent of the women who changed jobs in the last 18 months cited a lack of opportunity to advance as their reason for leaving. Furthermore, 74 per cent stated they would leave their employer if there’s no investment in their career development.

“What’s clear is that organisations risk losing talented female employees if they do not move the needle on career and leadership development,” Ms Dalla-Camina said.

According to the recent Women Rising report, 84 per cent of women agree that support from their manager is needed to thrive at work.

Disappointingly, less than half (49 per cent) have a supportive career mentor; worse still, one in five (19 per cent) states they have an unsupportive manager.

Just 40 per cent of women feel that their leader is inclusive all the time, and a mere 18 per cent agree their leader matches company rhetoric on gender diversity.

Ms Dalla-Camina emphasised that for women to reach their full potential and for businesses to thrive, organisations must invest in women’s leadership development that works.

“Providing women with direct support and mentoring is just one part of the solution,” she said.

“Modern leadership models require male leaders to develop the skills and knowledge to be more effective allies for women in the workplace.”

Women Rising’s framework has been developed to fast-track women’s career success, and of the 5500 graduates to complete the program since 2021, 96 per cent report having new tools to progress their careers and increased opportunities. Furthermore, 82 per cent feel more confident that there is a career for them with their current employer.

Women Rising believes the Male Allies program is key to future business success, which runs in parallel to ensure men understand the critical role they play in breaking down barriers and promoting gender balance.

“In order to better support women in their journey towards success, it is crucial for us to understand the challenges and opportunities that women face today,” Ms Dalla-Camina said.

“The Voice of Women at Work 2023 will not only help organisations understand the unique challenges faced by women in the workplace, but aims to empower women to live, work and lead with clarity, purpose, confidence and authenticity.”

Founded in 2021, Women Rising is the leadership development program fast-tracking the careers of women and supporting organisations to address leadership gaps that hold women back.

More than 500 organisations, including Microsoft, ANZ, Telstra and Accenture, have partnered with Women Rising to ensure their company is making changes that matter.

For more information, to download the report or join the upcoming Women Rising research briefing webinar, visit the Women Rising website: womenrisingco.com