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  • Did You Miss Our Webinar on the Great Female Resignation?

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Orion Talent hosted a panel of accomplished female talent leaders in our February webinar, How to Bring Back (and Keep) Women in the Workforce. They discussed a variety of recruitment and retention strategies that can help businesses strengthen and rebuild the ranks of women across their workforces.

Laura Schmiegel, SVP of Strategic Partnerships at Orion Talent, moderated the one-hour webinar with guests Sakita Douglas, Chief Talent Officer for Harris County in Texas, and Allison Joyce, VP Talent Partner for Walmart. Their insights offered a compelling look into how to recruit and retain female talent.

The Great Female Resignation

As discussed in the webinar, the majority of pandemic-related job losses were experienced by women. Since February 2020, U.S. women have lost more than 5.4 million jobs compared to 4.4 million lost by men. Many women left the workforce or reduced their hours in order to care for their families, provide at-home educational resources, due to safety concerns, or because of physical, mental, or emotional burnout. In January 2022, more than one million men joined the labor force compared to just 39,000 women. Men have recouped their pandemic job losses while 1.1 million women remain out of the workforce. The pandemic has greatly impacted women’s earnings and career trajectories.

Webinar Highlights

  • The importance of work-life balance is more visible than ever. Employers must rethink the traditional work model, offering more opportunities for hybrid and remote work.
  • There’s no going back to the way things were– it’s only going forward. How do we create flexible schedules and employee support for all workers?
  • The idea that someone must be physically sitting in an office to be productive is a cultural thing that must be addressed.
  • Flexibility is vital, even for workers whose careers don't allow for remote work.
  • Family leave policies must be addressed in a bigger, broader way. Paid family leave policies directly impact retention.

“Women are motivated candidly by the same things men are, with considerations for their responsibilities for their families,” said Sakita Douglas, “Women want growth and opportunity. They want career pathing. They want a way to create impact in their roles. I think it’s important to remind leaders and stakeholders at all levels that what they want isn’t, ‘How can I have one or the other?’ It’s ‘How can I have both in a way that supports my professional life and ensures that my family is supported as well?’”

Recommendations for Women Jobseekers

She recommends that women take a proactive, not reactive, approach to their careers and focus on creating intentionality and clarity around what they want to accomplish. “Leading your career with a degree of intentionality– I would even say that they make a plan– is incredibly important,” she said. “The benefit of the Great Resignation is that there are lots of options. There are lots of opportunities for talented folks. The first step would be to get really clear on the work you want to be involved in and be incredibly focused on moving in that direction. Have a really thoughtful plan for your career, taking into consideration all the things that are important to you both personally as well as professionally.”

Developing a People-First Approach

Allison Joyce points out that in order for companies to remain competitive, they truly need to look at the total spectrum of what they’re offering employees and to develop a plan making the public aware of their people-first approach if they want to attract and retain employees. “In 2021 in the United States, it was the first time there were more jobs than people,” she said, “And so if companies cannot continue to be competitive, individuals will go and find the places that are. This is a simple sort of economic discussion, and people are usually pretty clued into finding places and companies to work for that they feel are supporting them and meet their needs as an individual.”

There's no reason to simply accept the workplace status-quo as it was before. “I think women have a unique opportunity now in this conversation to say, ‘Maybe I’m not willing to do 16 hour days, but how can I best use my unique skills and resources and where can I find a space to do that?’” Joyce added, “There’s a bit of an awakening for women to realize that we can drive more of what we want and need in our lives.”

Top Tips for Attracting & Retaining Women

Check out our short (two-minute) video below featuring Top Tips for Attracting & Retaining Women, including:

  • Share data to win leadership support for targeting the recruitment and retention of women;
  • Ask women the question: What do you want?
  • Retain job flexibility wherever you can;
  • Flexibility is vital, even for workers whose careers don't allow for remote work;
  • Family leave policies must be addressed in a bigger, broader way. Paid family leave policies directly impact retention.

Download the Webinar

You can watch the full webinar for more insight into developing the kind of employee value proposition needed to attract and retain female employees in today’s transformed work environment. Get even more insight into other talent acquisition topics focused on DEI in our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Webinar Series. These webinars share practical advice and takeaways you can implement right away.

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