Accenture has released a study titled ‘Reinvent Opportunity: Looking Through a New Lens’, to help fuel dialogue on key issues affecting working women.
Accenture conducted its global research study, "Reinvent Opportunity: Looking Through a New Lens," for release on International Women’s Day to help fuel dialogue on key issues affecting working women.
- Explores career satisfaction, aspirations and factors for career advancement
- Examines how professionals are creating new opportunities to achieve job satisfaction
- Seeks to better understand what companies need to do to attract, develop and retain high-performing employees
The study was conducted in November 2010 and surveyed 3,400 business executives from medium to large organizations across 29 countries, including 100 from India. There was an equal representation of men and women across various generations i.e. Baby Boomers (born before 1964); Generation X (Born between 1965-1978); Generation Y (born after 1979).
Employees are looking for new ways to enhance and enrich their careers. The tools to do this may be right in front of them, but it’s those who look at tools and opportunities through a new lens – who reinvent opportunity – that will succeed
The research showed that fewer than half of female business professionals – and a similar percentage of their male counterparts (43 percent of women, 42 percent of men) – are satisfied with their current jobs
Current job situation: According to those surveyed in India, 38% are satisfied and not looking for new job opportunities and a close 37% are looking for job opportunities outside the company. Germany ranked highest with 64% satisfied with their current job. Also countries like China (40%); Brazil (41%); US (47%) and UK (38%) of those surveyed were satisfied with their current jobs and not looking out for new opportunities
Survey respondents attribute their lack of satisfaction to a variety of issues, ranging from being underpaid and a lack of opportunity for growth to a lack of opportunity for career advancementand feeling trapped
- Reasons not satisfied with current job situation: In India, 50% stated the reason that there was no opportunity for growth within their position while another 39% stated they feel like they are being underpaid. Interestingly Japan scored the highest (70%), for feeling underpaid. China (55%) ; US (46%) and UK (44%) also scored high in feeling underpaid for their work. Also, India (50%) and China (47%) rank high in no opportunity for growth in their position.
- Most important factors in their career: In India and China 32% of the respondents stated ‘Moving up/climbing up the corporate ladder’ was the most important factor in their career right now. 29% in India and 32% in China stated that ‘Interesting work’ was an important factor. However respondents in the more developed countries like US (30%) and UK (34%) stated work-life balance as an important factor for their careers
- Barriers to career advancement: 43% of the respondents from India and China stated lack of management support as a reason for encountering barriers in their career advancement and a close 41% in India and China stated ‘Additional training /education as a need for advancement. In countries like US (27%) and UK (32%), respondents felt an unclear or no career path were barriers to their careers.
- Pay raise: In India, 57% have stated ‘Yes’ they have negotiated for a pay raise. In Japan, the highest number of respondents (77%) said they have never asked or negotiated for a pay raise.
- Outcome when asked/ negotiated for a pay raise: In India, 42% stated they received a raise and it was as expected whereas 28% stated that they received a raise and it was less than expected. 38% of the respondents from Chine and the US said they had received a raise on expected levels.
- Asking for promotions: In India, 51% have stated that they have not asked for a promotion. However the maximum number of respondents in Japan (85%) said they never asked for a promotion. The trend is similar in other countries as well, where more often than not, the respondents have not asked for promotions- US (65%); UK(74%) and China (66%)
- Outcome of asking for a promotion: In India, 27% said they received a new role and it was expected when they asked for a promotion and 24% stated they did not receive a new role but received additional responsibilities. However in China (38%) said that they received a new role, but it was not the role expected.
But, despite expressing dissatisfaction, nearly three-quarters (70 percent of women and 69 percent of men) plan to stay with their companies
Motivations for career advancement: In India, 66% stated that new, challenging assignments would be a key factor in pursuing advancement and 58% stated better compensation. However, countries like Brazil (85%); China (71%); US ( 67%) and UK (53%) ranked ‘Better compensation’ as their key factor in pursuing advancement
Top career objectives/ priorities: In India, 73% stated that developing knowledge/ skill set would be one of the top career priorities for the year; 63% stated ‘Career planning’ and 46% stated ‘Flexible working arrangement’. Interestingly, most countries ranked developing knowledge and skill sets as a top career priority- China (54%); Japan (78%); UK (64%); US (52%)
Satisfaction with level reached in career: In India, 55% stated that they were satisfied with the level reached in their careers today. Switzerland ranked the highest with 78% satisfied with the level reached in their careers. More than half of respondents from China (50%); US (58%) and UK (58%) were satisfied with their career levels.
Desired level in organization: In India, 29% stated they would like to ultimately reach the Senior Management level and a close 28% stated Director level. Whereas in Brazil (44%) aspired to reach the Director level in their organization.
Moving companies to reach desired level: 55% from India and 45% from China said they did or will need to move to a new organization to reach their desired levels. However, in countries like the US (41%) and UK (33%) did not feel the need to move organizations in order to reach the desired level in their career
Since today’s professionals are not seeking to leave their companies, employers have an opportunity to understand and respond to their needs
In an effort to enhance their careers, more than half of survey respondents (59 percent of women, 57 percent of men) say that, this year, they will work on developing their knowledge and/or a skill set to achieve their career objectives
- Top changes employers need to make to impact careers: In India, 72% of those surveyed wanted improved pay while 63% wanted improved benefits as top changes employers could make that would provide the greatest opportunities and impact on their careers. 54% and 55% of the respondents wanted flexible working arrangements and a clear succession plan respectively.
- Similarly, in China (75%); US (76%) and UK (69%) improved pay was one of the top changes that an employer can make to impact ones career and provide greatest opportunity.
- In the past 12 months, steps taken toward a career change: In India, 35% took the step of changing industries or roles whereas 24% stated took a sabbatical; 38% did not make any of changes to their careers.
- Similar trends were seen in China (38%); US (20%); UK(19%) where the respondents have changed industries or role in the past 12 months as one of the steps towards career change.
- Resources to pursue career objectives: 68% of the respondents in India and 66% in China would use ‘Networking contacts’ and a close 57% in India and 55% in China would use ‘Family or friends’ as resources to pursue career objectives. Whereas in countries like US (40%) and UK (41%) felt that training from the company would be the top resource used to pursue career objectives.
- In India, 91% stated that ‘Networking’ is essential to their careers as compared to 90% in China. In the US and UK, 65% and 40%, respectively, felt networking was essential to their careers.
- Frequency of networking: 35% of Indian compared to only an 18% in China stated that they would network locally once a month.
Additionally, among the top factors that would make respondents want to pursue career advancement, women and men cited:
- Better compensation (cited by 65 percent of women and 67 percent of men)
- New, challenging assignments (44 percent and 46 percent)
- Flexible work arrangements (39 percent and 34 percent)
- Leadership positions within their companies (22 percent and 28 percent)
Yet, fewer than one-third of respondents – 32 percent of women, 31 percent of men – report that they have a formal or informal mentor
Leading organizations will team with their people to help equip them with the catalysts they need to reinvent opportunity
They should listen to employees and provide them with innovative training throughout every level of their careers, leadership development and clearly-defined career paths
They should also create a culture that encourages mentoring, develop diverse teams that provide new experiences and offer volunteer opportunities that engage their people and expand employee networks
Accenture, for example, continues to create and refine innovative programs that prepare women and men for leadership and foster a supportive, collaborative environment.
Training programs, such as Developing High Performing Women, Making Strategic Business Decisions, Women and Client Centricity and Leading a Diverse Workforce
Factors for women’s advancement: In India, 58% stated that hard work/ long hours are the reasons that successful women in their organization achieved success; 50% stated ‘Exceptional talent’ and 48% stated ‘Ability to create opportunities for clients/ customers and employees.
Similar trends were seen in countries like China (62%); UK (63%) and US (68%) who felt that hard work and long hours were the factors they believed help women in their organization achieve successful levels.
Participation in formal mentoring programmes: In India, a low 13% participated in their company’s formal training programmes. Similar trends were seen in China (9%)
Ways a mentor has helped an employee’s career: 84% stated that mentors provided guidance and advice’ 62% said they helped plan career moves; 42% stated that mentors acted as a sounding board. Similarly, in US (87%) and China (80%) also felt their mentors provided guidance and advice.
Training, networking opportunities specifically for women: In India, 74% stated that their current employer did not offer programs around training or networking opportunities available only to women. The trend was also seen in countries like US (83%), UK (90%) and China (73%). Ireland saw the highest number of respondents (94%) saying their employers do not offer training and networking opportunities specifically to women.
Career fast track: In India, 64% agreed their career is fast tracked as compared to 36% that say ‘No’. In UK, 95% of those surveyed felt that their career was not fast-tracked.
Reasons career not fast tracked: In India, 61% stated they ‘Wanted to maintain work/life balance’ and 36% stated ‘Lack of management support’. Also a similar trend was seen in countries like US (50%), UK (39%) and China (41%) where a large number of employees wanted to maintain a work-life balance.