Sheryl Sandberg, CFO of Facebook and the McKinsey consulting firm shared information from a study they did on women in the workplace. While Ms. Sandberg’s bestselling book encouraged women to lean in to workplace ambition, the study reflects that women are not so interested in getting to the top.
118 companies provided data and nearly 30,000 employees were surveyed for the study. They were questioned about their ambitions and perceptions about career opportunities. Compared to their male peers, women at all levels were less likely to seek out the highest corporate positions. For example, 60% of senior female managers compared to 72% of men wanted the top executive job; a gender gap that remains among entry-level employees.
Perhaps unexpectedly, women with children were 15% more likely than women without to desire the top level jobs. Also, black, Hispanic and Asian women were 43% more likely to be interested in the highest positions than white women as well as 16% more interested than white men. Companies should also note that while more employers are offering generous leave benefits, just 4% of female employees use them. The cause: more than 90% of the employees surveyed believed taking advantage of long family leaves would hurt their careers.