The Today’s Professional Woman Report, a national survey conducted by Citi and LinkedIn, recently explored what women perceive to be their biggest obstacles to career advancement, success, and satisfaction. Even as the report found that the financial power of women is on the upswing, professional women still feel unsure of their control over their advancement opportunities and financial futures.
Regarding career advancement, the survey found the following obstacles of utmost concern to women:
• Lack of opportunity, time, and loyalty: Thirty-eight percent of respondents think they will eventually reach a more senior position in their organizations. For those who don’t, the top obstacles are lack of opportunities (41 percent), personal lives (30 percent), and lack of interest in their current company (20 percent).
• Reluctance to ask for a raise: Twenty-five percent of professional women asked for a raise over the past 12 months, though 75 percent of those did receive one.
• Gender-wage gap: Breadwinning women still make less than their counterparts making an average of $35,000 more per year than her partner. When a man is the breadwinner, he makes an average of $49,000 more.
• Mentorship as a non-priority: Over half of women lack a mentor, especially those women over 45.
Work/life balance and flexibility:
• Most women feel they have work/life balance with 63 percent of respondents reporting having a good sense of balance. Ninety-five percent of women think that “having it all” is a reachable goal.
• Women desire more flexibility, particularly with the option of telecommuting. Forty-two percent of respondents want to work from home more frequently with 90 percent of women who work at home at least once per week reporting productivity on par or greater than when they are in the office.
• Opportunities for promotion decrease with telecommuting. Twenty-six percent of telecommuting women think they will receive a promotion compared to 40 percent who work solely in an office.
Other factors reported to affect the careers of women include unequal pay, office politics, and not being used to their fullest potential. Over half of women worry over their ability to save for retirement followed by concerns about their children’s education and paying off their own student debt. Also, women who work in a full-time office setting are over two times as likely to foresee themselves jumping ship than women who telecommute.