It’s lonely at top for women in the workplace

It’s typically been mentioned that it’s lonely on the high and now there’s new analysis to show it. A latest survey of greater than 600 women and men throughout the U.S. discovered that 53% of ladies within the office expertise loneliness—and it solely will get worse the upper they climb the company ladder.

The research, which was carried out in February 2023 by, Berlin Cameron & Benenson Group, confirms what ladies within the office have lengthy recognized—getting forward isn’t any straightforward feat and it’s not precisely a stroll within the park when you get there.

“This analysis factors to a office disaster, a psychological well being disaster and a pipeline disaster for ladies,” says Ann Shoket, CEO of, a non-public group of high-impact ladies in media, expertise and entrepreneurship. “We did this analysis to not level out how lonely it’s, however to level out the impression of that loneliness on their lives and their careers. It’s not that so many ladies are feeling lonely at their job, however they really feel lonely as a result of of their job.”

Nearly 30% of senior-level ladies within the survey mentioned they really feel as in the event that they don’t have anybody to speak to about work and that lack of assist is taking a toll. Two-thirds of senior-level ladies say that work, mixed with obligations at residence, have left them feeling burned out, pressured and overwhelmed. One must look no additional than the latest resignations of high-profile ladies in management positions, reminiscent of Jacinda Ardern, the previous prime minister of New Zealand and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, to see a pattern. 

A latest research by Challenger, Grey & Christmas, a Chicago-based government outplacement agency, discovered that 167 individuals stepped down from CEO roles in February 2023, an 11% enhance over the variety of leaders who left in February 2022. For ladies, the explanations are different, in accordance with a report from McKinsey & Firm and Lean In that noticed ladies leaving management positions as a result of they’re more likely to expertise stronger headwinds than males; they’re overworked and underrecognized; they usually need a extra versatile and various office tradition. 

“We predict that loneliness and success go hand in hand—the thought of the lone wolf chief bearing all the weight of the choices on their very own,” says Shoket. “And that’s not conducive to success for ladies. Girls really feel unseen, unsupported and like they will’t be their genuine selves at work.”

What’s actually at stake on the subject of loneliness

Past implications at work, loneliness can be linked to quite a lot of bodily and psychological well being points, together with larger dangers of melancholy, nervousness, heart problems, hassle sleeping and dementia amongst others. The truth is, a research from the Nationwide Institute on Growing older discovered that extended isolation is identical as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. 

The loneliness epidemic is so prevalent that at a lecture at Yale final fall, U.S. Surgeon Normal Vivek H. Murthy mentioned, “It’s each widespread and consequential, and that is among the explanation why I needed to boost the alarm that this can be a public well being subject.” 

To assist deal with the stress, almost 92% of the senior-level ladies who reported being lonely in research mentioned they turned to a damaging coping habits, reminiscent of alcohol, medication, overexercising and overspending. 

Loneliness is contributing to a pipeline downside for ladies leaders

In’s research, researchers discovered that almost 60% of ladies say their emotions of loneliness or isolation have elevated as their careers progressed and almost 53% of ladies have declined a job, a promotion, stop or stopped working altogether due to the damaging impression on their private life. 

“There’s a era of ladies who’re trying up the ladder on the ladies forward of them and seeing what they’ve needed to sacrifice, seeing how they’ve needed to compartmentalize they usually’re like, ‘no, thanks. I’m opting out of that,’” says Shoket.

As a substitute of opting out of management positions altogether, Denise Hamilton, CEO and founding father of Watch Her Work, a digital platform for skilled ladies, is encouraging a youthful workforce to reimagine what success may appear to be on their phrases.

“Folks aren’t aspiring to management roles the identical method they used to, particularly after a type of worth correction that occurred throughout lockdown,” says Hamilton. “We had this Nice Resignation, however I name it the Nice Negotiation as a result of actually the whole lot is on the desk. It’s all up for a repositioning and restructuring.”

To do this, Hamilton recommends making an allowance for what you’ll want to succeed, and the way a selected position or firm could possibly assist these objectives.

“How are we articulating what we wish in these environments as an alternative of simply stepping away from the desk?” she asks. “It’s actually vital to be part of the reimagining of the trendy workforce.”

Loneliness is even worse for ladies of colour

Not solely is it lonely on the high, nevertheless it’s much less various, too. The Lean In report discovered that just one in 4 individuals within the C-suite is a girl and just one in 20 is a girl of colour. In the meantime, research noticed that feeling of loneliness is very exacerbated for Black ladies and ladies of colour, whose isolation is compounded by an absence of respect. Just one in 5 ladies of colour strongly agree that they really feel revered at work, in comparison with over a 3rd of white ladies.

“We’re nonetheless solely about one to 2 generations in the place ladies have been allowed to work, not to mention the place they’re attending to the C-suite,” says Bea Arthur, therapist and founding father of The Distinction, an on-demand remedy service. “I can let you know from my very own expertise as an entrepreneur and dealing with excessive performers usually that in the event you see a girl or an individual of colour on the high, you recognize they’ve been by some shit to get there and to remain there.”

And it’s not essentially any simpler even while you’re your individual boss, as Arthur can attest, recalling a time when she was the primary and solely Black lady and one among eight feminine founders at Y Combinator, a startup accelerator firm, again in 2015. To assist navigate her expertise of typically being the “first, solely and completely different” as showrunner Shonda Rhimes as soon as described it, Arthur leaned on the assistance of a coach.

“My coach jogged my memory that respect comes from the Latin phrase respicere, which implies to ‘look again at, or regard,’” she says. “And that’s the factor. It doesn’t matter how a lot I’ve carried out, they’ll by no means see me as useful. The “not being seen” piece…that’s what loneliness is—feeling alone, feeling unsupported. It’s precisely what they are saying, being a brown particular person you need to work twice as laborious to get half as far.”

The best way to fight loneliness within the office

Along with teaching, Arthur has relied closely on coworking areas and group teams, reminiscent of, to assist really feel much less alone.

“Being a member of coworking house that does programming, content material and occasions the place I may see different founders come and communicate and meet different entrepreneurs has been such a sport changer,” says Arthur. “Working from residence has nice flexibility, however every so often it helps to be round different individuals.”

Hamilton suggests budgeting time and proactively reaching out to your pals {and professional} community to schedule lunch dates and occasional dates, whether or not they’re in-person or digital. In spite of everything, friendships have been confirmed to enhance our bodily and psychological well being. However on the finish of the day, it’s on firms and insurance policies to offer higher working situations for ladies, particularly those that are underrepresented in management positions.

“All of the teaching we give ladies about how they will have higher work-life steadiness, we have now to chop that out. This can be a systemic societal downside,” says Hamilton. “My recommendation is to be mild with your self and perceive the problem that’s in entrance of you. You don’t get the promotion since you work laborious. You get the promotion, as a result of any individual above you, who has the authority to amplify you, thinks you’re employed laborious.”

Back To Top