'Reinvent Opportunity: Looking Through a New Lens' - study by Accenture

by CXOtoday Staff    Mar 04, 2011

IWDAccenture 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.

The research tries to:
• 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.

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.

However, 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 advancement and feeling trapped

On asking about reasons for being unsatisfied with current job situation, in India, 50% stated lack of 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.

The survey also highlights the thoughts of the respondents on ‘most important factors in their career’, ‘barriers to career advancement’, ‘pay raise and the outcome when asked/ negotiated for a pay raise’ as well as ‘promotions and outcome of asking for the same.

However, despite expressing dissatisfaction, 70 percent of women and 69 percent of men plan to stay with their companies. The respondents also talked about the motivations for career advancement, their career objectives/ priorities, satisfaction with current level, and desired level in organization.

In an effort to enhance their careers, 59 percent of women and 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.

As far as the changes employers need to make are concerned, 72% of respondents in India, 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.

Networking is essential to careers, believed 91% in India, as compared to 90% in China. In the US and UK, 65% and 40%, respectively, felt networking was essential to their careers.

Additionally, among the top factors that would make respondents want to pursue career advancement, women and men cited:
• Better compensation (65% of women and 67% of men)
• New, challenging assignments (44% and 46%)
• Flexible work arrangements (39% and 34%)
• Leadership positions within their companies (22% and 28%).

Yet, 32% of women, and 31% of men reported that they have a formal or informal mentor.

On the organizations front, the study highlighted that, companies will team with their people to help equip them with the catalysts they need to reinvent opportunity.

Talking about the factors for women’s advancement, 58% Indian (respondents) stated that hard work/ long hours are the reasons that successful women in their organization achieved success; 50% believed ‘Exceptional talent’ and 48% stated ‘Ability to create opportunities for clients/ customers and employees. However, China (62%); UK (63%) and US (68%) felt that hard work and long hours were the factors they believed help women in their organization achieve successful levels.

Besides, participation in formal mentoring programs (India - 13% and China 9%); ways a mentor has helped an employee’s career, especially providing guidance and advice (India - 84%, US -87% and China 80%); Training, networking opportunities specifically for women were cited as important factors for women’s career advancement.

In November 2010, Accenture conducted an online survey of 3,400 business executives from medium to large organizations across 29 countries. A minimum of hundred respondents from each country participated. Respondents were split evenly by gender and were balanced by age and level in their organizations. The margin of error for the total sample was approximately +/-2 percent, stated the company. A full report on the research is available on the company’s website.