43% women managers prioritise earning potential over work-life balance

Only about 33% individual contributors prioritise work-life balance, while 52% department leads prioritise earning potential, says a survey


Mel Gibson’s character in the 2000 romantic fantasy comedy film, ‘What Women Want’, was fortunate enough to be able to listen in on women’s thoughts. Normal human beings, however, do not have such a gift. Therefore, we rely on surveys and the data revealed therein to try and understand what women professionals seek. One such survey report says that a whopping 82 per cent working women seek career advancement, followed by compensation (78 per cent) and purposeful work (66 per cent). What happened to flexibility? Very surprisingly, only one in three prioritised flexible work options and work-life balance! Women’s priorities differ at different levels of the corporate hierarchy and how!

Earning potential vs work-life balance

More importance is being given by women to earning potential than work-life balance, bot not at all levels.

For only about 33 per cent of individual contributors, the top priority is work-life balance. Forty-three per cent of the women managers managing individuals, feel earning potential is top priority. For 44 per cent of women managers of managers, work-life balance is top priority, while 52 per cent of department leads think earning potential is top priority. A whopping 73 per cent business leads feel top priority is earning potential, while 43 per cent of women at the CXO level share the same thought.

The need to feel passionate about the work, satisfy their adventurous selves, leave a legacy and create a social impact come later on in the hierarchy of needs.

How can women progress in their careers?

Of course women need to be self-motivated and driven to be able to move faster up the corporate ladder. These factors have been discussed and done to death over the years. But the most important factor behind successful women professionals is a supportive family or spouse. Yes, 93 per cent of those surveyed admit this. About 90 per cent feel self-determination and grit, while 84 per cent feel corporate interventions are needed for career progress. There are of course other parameters too, such as feeling valued by their employers, an efficient team, feeling valued by managers and work-life balance.

How happy are women with their current jobs?

Going by the data reported, not many women are feeling snug and comfortable in their present roles, especially those in front-line leadership roles. A majority (73 per cent) of the managers of managers are considering giving up their current roles in the next three to six months! About 50 per cent of the remaining, regardless of their tenures, are considering quitting in the next three to six months.

Does pay gap exist?

Of course it does, and it is widest in senior leadership roles. Rather surprising, isn’t it? Women business leads earn 15 per cent less than their male counterparts, while at the CXO and CXO-1 level, they earn 26 per cent less!

What about promotions?

For every 100 promotion application, when it comes to managers of individuals, 56 women are promoted compared to 51 men. However, only 37 women managers of managers receive promotions as compared to 58 men. When it comes to department leads, for every 100 applications, only 35 women are elevated as compared to 44 men. At the business lead level, merely 14 per cent women receive promotions as compared to 37 men.

Forget the grand celebrations to mark International Women’s Day and the buzz around diversity and inclusiveness. We are clearly far away from achieving gender parity. The report reveals that women are not chosen for P&L roles. That means, while they are considered capable of bringing in revenues, they are still not considered capable of essaying roles involving expenditure. It is also disappointing to note that only two per cent men take career breaks for parenthood compared to 58 per cent women. In fact, 48 per cent men take a break to further their education, which obviously improves their job prospects, while only 11 per cent women are able to take a break to pursue their education goals.

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