It’s lonely at top for women in the workplace

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

The examine, which was carried out in February 2023 by, Berlin Cameron & Benenson Group, confirms what girls within the office have lengthy identified—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 girls,” says Ann Shoket, CEO of, a personal neighborhood of high-impact girls in media, know-how and entrepreneurship. “We did this analysis to not level out how lonely it’s, however to level out the influence 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 girls within the survey stated 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 girls say that work, mixed with tasks at dwelling, have left them feeling burned out, confused and overwhelmed. One must look no additional than the current resignations of high-profile girls in management positions, corresponding to Jacinda Ardern, the previous prime minister of New Zealand and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, to see a development. 

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

“We expect that loneliness and success go hand in hand—the concept of the lone wolf chief bearing the entire weight of the selections on their very own,” says Shoket. “And that’s not conducive to success for girls. Ladies really feel unseen, unsupported and like they will’t be their genuine selves at work.”

What’s actually at stake in relation to loneliness

Past implications at work, loneliness can be linked to various bodily and psychological well being points, together with increased dangers of melancholy, nervousness, heart problems, hassle sleeping and dementia amongst others. In reality, a examine from the Nationwide Institute on Growing old discovered that extended isolation is similar as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. 

The loneliness epidemic is so prevalent that at a lecture at Yale final fall, U.S. Surgeon Common Vivek H. Murthy stated, “It’s each widespread and consequential, and that is without doubt one of the the reason why I wished to boost the alarm that this can be a public well being situation.” 

To assist deal with the stress, practically 92% of the senior-level girls who reported being lonely in examine stated they turned to a destructive coping conduct, corresponding to alcohol, medicine, overexercising and overspending. 

Loneliness is contributing to a pipeline downside for girls leaders

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

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

As an alternative of opting out of management positions altogether, Denise Hamilton, CEO and founding father of Watch Her Work, a digital platform for skilled girls, is encouraging a youthful workforce to reimagine what success might seem like on their phrases.

“Individuals aren’t aspiring to management roles the identical means they used to, particularly after a form 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 try this, Hamilton recommends bearing in mind what it’s good to succeed, and the way a specific function or firm could possibly assist these targets.

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

Loneliness is even worse for girls of colour

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

“We’re nonetheless solely about one to 2 generations in the place girls 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 inform you from my very own expertise as an entrepreneur and dealing with excessive performers usually that when you see a girl or an individual of colour on the high, you realize they’ve been by means of some shit to get there and to remain there.”

And it’s not essentially any simpler even if you’re your personal boss, as Arthur can attest, recalling a time when she was the primary and solely Black girl and certainly one of 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 totally 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 executed, they’ll by no means see me as precious. 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 must work twice as arduous to get half as far.”

Find out how to fight loneliness within the office

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

“Being a member of a very good coworking house that does programming, content material and occasions the place I might see different founders come and converse and meet different entrepreneurs has been such a sport changer,” says Arthur. “Working from dwelling has nice flexibility, however now and again it helps to be round different folks.”

Hamilton suggests budgeting time and proactively reaching out to your pals {and professional} community to schedule lunch dates and low 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 circumstances for girls, particularly those that are underrepresented in management positions.

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