Kane Communications Group: New research reveals half of Wisconsin working women considering quitting, 25% higher than national average

December 9, 2021 – MILWAUKEE   Kane Communications Group today released new research that reveals 50% of Wisconsin’s working women are considering quitting their current jobs. This is 25% higher than the national average reported in McKinsey & Company’s 2021 Women in the Workplace report. The number of Wisconsin women considering quitting rises even higher – to 60% – for those working in the retail, food service and hospitality industries.

The Kane Insights: State of Working Women in Wisconsin report represents the first detailed, scientific analysis ever conducted of Wisconsin working women, assessing their current feelings of well-being, support and satisfaction with their jobs and wider industries, including their levels of stress and what they need to make work, work for them. The report also provides employers with recommendations to create workplaces that are attractive for Wisconsin working women, enhancing their ability to attract and retain employees.

“The current talent upheaval overall and the out-sized negative impact of the pandemic on working women in particular is well documented nationally,” said Kimberly Kane, President and CEO of Kane Communications Group, which commissioned the study. “As a female CEO in Wisconsin of a company that advises organizations on how to be employers of choice, I wanted to understand what’s on the minds of our state’s working women. With this research report, Wisconsin employers are now armed with what working women need to be engaged and successful.”

What Do Wisconsin Employers Need to Know?

50% of Wisconsin working women are considering quitting work “constantly, often, or sometimes.”

  • According to the Kane Insights research findings, feeling undervalued and underappreciated, high stress levels, lack of adequate communication from their employer and pay are among the main drivers for why Wisconsin women are dissatisfied in their current work situation and are considering quitting at a rate even higher than the national average for working women.

In every age category, the top reason Wisconsin working women cited that they would leave their job is feeling undervalued in their current role. This is cited above pay, stress, family reasons or not liking the hours, among other options. In addition:

  • 42% of African-American women cite feeling undervalued in their current role as the top reason they consider quitting their jobs.
  • Nearly one third of Hispanic/Latinas polled cited that they left the workforce because they felt undervalued in their current role at work, above all other factors.
  • 36% of women working in manufacturing, transportation, energy or agriculture cited this as their top reason for considering quitting.

68% of Wisconsin working women cite experiencing “some, very or extreme” levels of stress recently, compared to 50% nationally.

  • That number rises to 78% for Wisconsin women working in manufacturing, transportation, energy and agriculture industries.
  • 61% of Wisconsin working women agree that stress impacts their productivity.

36% of Wisconsin working women have at least one child under the age of 18.

  • 81% of Wisconsin’s working women with children under the age of 18 have jobs that offer no childcare support
    • 49% of mothers with children under age 18 work for large organizations of 300 employees or more

Additional research findings and recommendations for employers can be found in the full Kane Insights report, which the public can download for free at KaneInsights.com.

Women Workers Are Vital to A Healthy Economy

Understanding the needs of working women has become increasingly urgent for employers across the country and the world in the past months. Nationally, more than 2.5 million women left the workforce during the pandemic, quitting at faster rates than men, and women are returning to the workforce at a slower rate than men. Noting that women suffered more from job losses in the COVID-19 recession than men, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell recently said that bridging gender gaps is imperative for the U.S. economy to reach its full potential.

Milwaukee Women, Inc. (MWi), an organization working to increase the number of women corporate directors, says this research is both-eye opening and valuable to Wisconsin’s business community. “Recent studies suggest that a critical mass is reached when corporate boards of directors have at least three women who can influence the dynamics and thought processes among members. While we are slowly moving the needle, the key to continued success is a robust pipeline of women leaders who can assume critical board positions in the coming years. Fewer women in the workforce could significantly impact this progress,” said Pat Ackerman, chair of MWi and senior vice president of A.O. Smith Corporation.  

9to5 is a national organization that has been on the frontlines, advocating for economic justice for all women—particularly women of color—for the past 50 years. “We still have many barriers to overcome to fully dismantle a system that was set to historically marginalize vulnerable groups, and to build a system that supports its people,” said Christina Thor, Wisconsin State Director of 9to5. “The statistics revealed in the Kane Insights research validate that there is still work to be done. 9to5’s own data underscores one of the Kane Insights findings: a big reason why working women in Wisconsin are considering quitting is lack of support from employers regarding equitable and affordable childcare and paid family and medical leave.”

McKinsey’s 2020 Women in the Workplace report states: “Corporate America is at a crossroads. The choices that companies make today will have consequences for the organizations and society for decades to come.”

“This inaugural study seeks to provide a baseline from which Wisconsin employers and industries can work to move towards creating a work culture that attracts and retains female talent. We plan to repeat this research to see if employers are able to move the meter in the next 18-24 months,” Kane said.

Webinar For Employers

To support businesses in becoming employers of choice for Wisconsin working women, Kane Communications Group is holding a webinar on Friday, December 17 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. CST for CEOs, human resources executives, senior communications leaders and others who want to understand the research findings and recommendations. Register here.

The Study Methodology

The analysis of working women in Wisconsin was developed by Kane and conducted via a telephone and text messaging survey by Santiago Global Consulting, who collected and analyzed data from a random sample of 980 Wisconsin working women. The data collected has a margin of error of +/-3.1% with a 95 percent confidence interval. In addition to the quantitative research, Kane Communications Group also held several listening sessions with more than two dozen Wisconsin working women to get their input on what employers can do to address the issues revealed in the research. These recommendations are included in the report.

Kane Communications Group

Kane Communications Group is a purpose-driven branding, marketing and PR agency that builds, activates and protects reputations and drives corporate citizenship for organizations around the world. Founded in 2013 by award-winning journalist, Kimberly Kane, the company has offices in Milwaukee, Racine and Geneva, Switzerland. Kane is a woman-owned, WOSBE-, WBENC-, DBE- and SBE-certified firm and a participant in the United Nations Global Compact. In 2021, Kane was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. 

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