McKinsey and Co.’s “Women in the Workplace” report continues to be vital to HR’s understanding of women at work. The 2023 report is the ninth annual one; since the pandemic, the report has detailed women’s attrition from the workplace in particular.
3 key takeaways from Women in the Workplace 2023:
- Women of color remain underrepresented in leadership.
- Microaggressions have a “macro” impact.
- Women with disabilities and LGBTQ+ talent reported higher rates of workplace disrespect than their male counterparts.
The 2023 report shows that women of color are barely represented in the corporate workforce — even less so at higher levels of the corporate ladder. McKinsey researchers even highlight how the “glass ceiling” may be an archaic DEI myth. Instead, HR and employers should think about the “broken rung,” which keeps women of color from moving up into management positions.
For the ninth year in a row, McKinsey added, “women face their biggest hurdle at the ﬁrst critical step up to manager.” In 2023, 87 women were promoted for every 100 men.
“This gap is trending the wrong way for women of color: this year, 73 women of color were promoted to manager for every 100 men, down from 82 women of color last year,” McKinsey reported. “As a result of this ‘broken rung,’ women fall behind and can’t catch up.”
Workplace disrespect for marginalized women continues
The McKinsey researchers reconfirmed the detrimental effects of microaggression, even when they are “subtle” and “not overtly harmful.” Microaggressions “signal disrespect, cause acute stress, and can negatively impact women’s careers and health,” researchers said.
Women are twice as likely to experience microaggressions — such as being mistaken for someone junior — than men are, per the report. For marginalized women, “these slights happen more often and are even more demeaning,” researchers called out. Notably, Asian and Black women are seven times more likely to be confused with a colleague of the same race than White women are.
Judgment being questioned, being mistaken for someone junior, others getting credit for winning ideas, and being subjected to comments about appearance and emotional state: Overall, women of color, LGBTQ+ women and women with disabilities noted experiencing these microaggressions from two to six times as often as their male counterparts.