March 8 was International Women's Day and to shine a spotlight on women in the workplace, Accenture conducted a survey of 140 executives in senior management positions in U.S. companies. The results show how the personal expectations of both men and women have influenced their achievement in the workplace. Women are achieving on a par with their male counterparts, despite a sometimes slower pace of advancement and a greater pressure to be there for their families.
Survey responses revealed that only 66 percent of women envisioned reaching the senior management level when they started their careers, but 79 percent see themselves reaching this level now. Men, according to the survey, are more likely to see themselves in the C-Suite, implying that women still perceive the glass ceiling to exist at the highest level. Interestingly, women nearing the end of their careers, those over age 55, are most likely to perceive gender as career hindering.
The survey also revealed that over 50 percent of both men and women find it challenging to balance their personal and professional lives and to leave work at work, a problem that is greater in the U.S. where men and women put in more than 51§hours than many of their counterparts globally. And, women are more likely to work fewer hours than men a result of having children (22 percent versus 13 percent) and women with children are twice as likely as men with children to cite the need to devote more time to children/family as a career hindering factor. Aside from designated maternity leave, the survey revealed that 30 percent of women have actually left the workforce for longer than a year, compared with only 10 percent of men.
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