Millennial Women Are Leaving Their Jobs Way More Than Men

Megan Reynolds | March 9, 2016 - 3:30 pm

There’s an alarming trend on the rise for the professional millennial woman: career burnout at a young age. Fast Company reports that the trend of career-tracked, professional women burning out and quitting their jobs before the age of 30 is on the rise, due to high expectations, both self-imposed and otherwise.

A study from McKinsey, cited in the piece, states that while women hold 53% of the corporate entry-level jobs out there, only 37% of them are in middle management. As you climb up the ladder, the numbers decrease, with 26% of women holding positions at the vice president and senior management level — a disheartening statistic when you take into consideration the wage gap and that pesky glass ceiling. Equality matters and so does representation, but if millennial ,upwardly mobile women with ambition are burning out before they even get there, how will this problem ever be solved?

Career burnout in any field is very real. but especially so in our fast-paced, always-on modern work environment. Carving out a work life balance sometimes feel like an aspiration more than anything else. Dissatisfaction in your career and an unclear path forward are two sides of the same nefarious coin. Working towards a clearly defined goal feels productive and worthwhile; working towards an ill-defined future full of empty promises without any actionable benchmarks is like wading through quicksand.

And, even if you reject the gendered expectations placed upon women to continue the emotional labor of raising a family and taking care of the home, it doesn’t matter. These expectations imprint on us from a very young age. A study from the University of Kansas found that, when looking at the attrition rates of journalists, women feel more overworked and overloaded than their male peers.

Where women are more often expected to provide the majority of family care and raise children, men are expected to be the breadwinners and put work obligations before family. That was supported by the findings showing that women experience significantly higher rates of role overload, or feel that they are unable to complete their assigned duties in the work time allowed.

Regardless of whether or not you actually want to raise a family or get married, the expectation lingering somewhere in the back of your head that that’s a life that you should want affects your productivity and your ambitions in the workplace. If you’re already working with the reality of the wage gap and the feeling that you have to be louder, better, faster and smarter than your male peers to be seen as their equal, wouldn’t you burn out too?

There’s no solution for career burnout, no quick fix that’ll relieve the pressure women place upon themselves But, the numbers are scary. Women need to take care of themselves and take care of each other. Work is a slog; we all have to do it to stay alive and to keep the lights on. But, it’s important to remind yourself that your career is, at its most basic level, a list of experiences, both good and bad. Focus on the bigger picture instead of the day by day. Burnout happens to everyone, but beating yourself up about it is pointless. Just do what you’re doing. You’re doing a great job. You’re going to be okay. Everything works out in the end.

[Fast Company]