Silicon Valley loses top women


Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

Silicon Valley loses top women

Some of the highest-profile women in the tech industry are "heading for the exits," said Emily Chang in Bloomberg. Last week, it was YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki, who announced she was leaving after 25 years at Google. Days earlier, Marne Levine stepped down as Meta's chief business officer. Sheryl Sandberg left her role as Meta's chief operating officer last year. Women are underrepresented in Silicon Valley, so the pressures on those at the top are tremendous. Several top female executives who recently left had faced "ferocious criticism" that could feel "overly personal." This latest wave of departures risks discouraging the next generation of women in tech, left even lonelier in the layoffs following the pandemic-era boom.

Working less, by choice

The main reason the job market remains tight as the economy slows isn't "the shrinking pool of workers," said Yongseok Shin in the Harvard Business Review. "It's that those who do work are choosing to work fewer hours." The highest-earning men are cutting back the most. The top 10 percent, making more than $140,000 per year, dropped from 44.7 hours per week in 2019 to 43.2 in 2022. The 10 percent with the longest hours logged at least 50 hours weekly in 2022, down from 55 in 2019. Surveys suggest married men, who cut more hours than anyone, spent the extra free time "socializing and relaxing." The findings suggest that the pandemic "led people to reassess their life priorities and recalibrate their work-life balance."

The 'richcession' is already here

"The U.S. could still skirt a recession," said Justin Lahart in The Wall Street Journal, "but it is already in a richcession." Recessions often hit the poor and lower-middle classes hardest. But this time, pandemic relief payments and a "roaring" job market have cushioned lower-income workers, and it's the well-off who are feeling the bite. White-collar pay isn't rising faster than inflation, and layoffs are hitting particularly hard at companies that "compensate their workers handsomely." The super-wealthy are doing fine, but those a rung or two down the ladder are suddenly uncomfortable. "Sagging stock portfolios and a rising cost of living are hitting entry-level luxury goods," and "a pinched upper-middle class still trying to dress like a million dollars" will have to look for places to get their status symbols at a discount.

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

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