The Path to Women’s Career Success – Game On!

The Path to Women’s Career Success – Game On!

Citi and LinkedIn published the third installment of their Today’s Professional Women survey last week with some encouraging and interesting results.  While the study didn’t address the gender wage gap or the lack of women in senior leader positions, Citi and LinkedIn have revealed a noteworthy path for women’s career success.  Here are findings highlighted in a Business Wire summary of the study which caught my attention.

Game On - CitiWomen are in the game creating their own paths to career success

  • Men’s career paths are linear, women’s career paths have more transitions (among baby boomers, the men have an average of 6 jobs, the women an average of 8 and the expect a total of 10).
  • Fewer women are working in the field they studied in college (55% of women vs. 64% of men).
  • Many women think they will be in a different industry or comapany in 10 years (30% of women vs. 19% of men).

In her recent blog post, Linda Descano, Presdient and CEO of Women & Co a service of Citi for women, notes that the findings show a shift for women. Descano says, “It’s no longer about overcoming massive roadblocks that stand in our way – it’s about turning those so-called obstacles into opportunities, and how we navigate them to ensure that we’re moving towards our goals with each step forward.”

I think these findings show the ingenuity and resilience of women in being able to forge paths to career success when the traditional career paths were either not available to women or were not conducive to our needs.  When we can’t go straight through to what we want, we find a way around that works for us.

Women are more stressed over finances than men, stresses include:

  • Paying off credit card debt (36% of women vs. 29% of men).
  • Paying off student loans (35% of women vs. 28% of men).
  • Getting a raise (30% of women vs. 23% of men).

These results aren’t surprising.  Since women generally earn 18% less than men, we have good reason to be more concerned about finances.

Men put greater emphasis on children, marriage and family

  • Finding the right balance between work and family life is the number one career concern for both genders (50% of men vs. 48% of women).
  • Men were more likely than women to think of themselves as family-oriented.
  • 79% of men equate “having it all” with being in a “strong, loving marriage” vs. only 66% of women.
  • 86% of men factor children into their definition of success vs. 73% of women.
  • 25% of women think that being in a “strong, loving relationship” is all they need to have it all; marriage is not necessary. Only 14% of men agree.
  • The number of women who do not factor marriage or relationships into their definition of success has nearly doubled (from 5% to 9%) since the survey was first conducted in July 2012.

After seeing these findings, I’m encouraged. I’m hoping that the men who participated in the study are representative of the broader male gender.  It appears that men have truly evolved and are now seeing themselves as true partners in raising their children and taking care of their homes and not just the stereotypical ‘family-man’ of past generations who parented on the weekends and expected dinner on the table every night.

The results also suggest that we as women are evolving.  We are no longer defining ourselves as just mothers and wives, but acknowledging that we can be fulfilled and successful in other ways. This gives me hope that these evolutions of gender will continue until women and men achieve a true balance of power at home and at work, where we all equally share responsibility for ourselves and others, and where opportunity exists equally in the workplace for women as well as men.

Women are achieving success in their careers

The most positive findings from the study show that even though we have to navigate the path to career success differently, an almost equal number of women and men (47% vs. 48%) feel they have achieved their personal goals.  More importantly, nearly half (47%) of the women surveyed consider themselves successful, which has increased 10 points since the last study in March 2013.

As I read the last statistics, an old Aretha Franklin song immediately came to mind, “Sisters are doin’ it for themselves.”  You got that right – Game On!

What’s your career path look like?  Have you achieved career success?  Share your story with us – Twitter, Facebook, Youtube,  #LeaveYourLegacy.  Or, join the conversation that inspired the Today’s Professional Women survey on Connect: Professional Women’s Network, the fast-growing LinkedIn group of more than 190,000 professional women powered by Citi.

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Passionate advocate for the advancement and empowerment of women. Prior HR exec and co-founder of Ask Ajna - helping women find their voice in the workplace.

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