Unfortunately, we lost. We lost millions of people in the workforce during the global pandemic, both men and women. As of January 2022, the great news is that men have fully recovered; they are back to their pre-pandemic levels. The story isn’t so great for the women. Women still have a loss of a million to get back to their pre-pandemic levels.

A million women have still not re-entered the workforce. We know that this is impacting company’s bottom lines; that when they are leaving, when they’re trying to hire, it is not good for the overall growth of the company. We also know that it’s impacting a woman’s personal financial growth, for herself and for her family. It’s estimated that for a woman leaving the workforce, she stands to lose $600,000 over the course of her lifetime. And if she’s a woman in a leadership position, she stands to lose a million dollars over her lifetime.

We are stalling economic growth by not investing and getting women back into the workplace.

Now I’ve seen organizations who are saying, “Here, let me bump up salary to retain you. We’re going to start you off at a higher base.” The irony is that it’s not the salary that’s going to bring women back. As long as women, and people in general, feel that their salary, their compensation is at least fair, it’s not the determining factor. Women are looking for flexibility, for reasonable workloads, for supportive managers.

I challenge you and your organization – have you evaluated those things? What type of flexibility are you offering as a customized and personalized approach, for both your current female employees and those you’re looking to hire? Are you being realistic with a manageable workload? When the workload is not manageable, it doesn’t matter how much the salary is. The employee, this woman is eventually going to burnout.

And we know that the manager burnout has not recovered yet either; it is increasing still yet today. So that manageable workload needs to be there, as well as manager support. There are still too many bad managers that are out there. Organizations need to be swift about getting rid of those bad managers, so that your women, your female workers, and employees in general have a reason, an investment, a desire to stay; they’re in a positive work environment when they have a supportive manager.

So even though the impact of women leaving the workplace impacts their professional opportunity and financial opportunity, and it impacts the organization, your bottom line, the irony is it’s not salary that’s bringing them back. So today, take a look and see what you are doing as an organization, as a hiring manager, and as a leader to retain and bring women back that is not based on salary.