2012 Women’s Research—The Path Forward

Few professionals plan to leave their employers despite job dissatisfaction – see full report


Accenture surveyed 3,900 business professionals in 31 countries, in order to:

  • Explore career satisfaction, aspirations and factors for career advancement
  • Examine what may hold professionals back from progressing in their careers
  • Better understand the support and programs companies provide that attracts, develops and retains high-performing employees

Key Findings

Over half of both the women and men surveyed (57% and 59% respectively) are dissatisfied with their jobs but, despite this, over two-thirds (69%) of those surveyed said they don’t plan to leave their current employers, and almost the same number (64%) said flexible work arrangements was the reason for staying where they are.

  • 42% of respondents said that the biggest block to their career advancement was a lack of opportunity or a clear career path; 20% cited family responsibilities; while almost one-third (3%) said there were no barriers to their advancement.
  • Most said they are doing different things to manage their careers::
  • 58% have accepted a different role or responsibility
  • 46% are undertaking more education or training
  • 36% are working longer hours

Today’s Workplace: The New Normal

  • Flexible work schedules – Most (59%) said they had  some type of flexible work schedule, and 44% of this group said they have used flexible work options for over three years.
  • Slowed careers – 44% said that the economic downturn (which started in 2008) had slowed their careers, while 40% said parenthood percent was responsible for slowing their careers.
  • Work/life balance – Over two-thirds (71%) reported having work/life balance most or all of the time, but 42% said they often sacrifice time with family in order to succeed, and 41% said career demands impact their family life negatively.
  • Spouses – Most (73%) with a spouse or partner said that person also holds a full-time job.
  • Important attributes for career growth – Respondents cited self-confidence (28%), soft skills (25%) and hard work (23%) as the attributes most important to career growth.
  • Career advice – About one-third said they get career advice from colleagues (35%) or family (32%), and 77% said the gender of the person giving career advice does not matter to them.


As most of today’s professionals are not job hunting, leading companies must now take advantage to equip their people with clearly defined career paths that include innovative training, leadership development and opportunities for advancement.

Energised, motivated employees give an organisation a competitive advantage, and employees want to succeed.  Nevertheless, the workplace has changed, and employees want to customise their approach to success, balancing personal needs with their wish to succeed.  The challenge for employers is to help employees balance the needs of home and work throughout their career.

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