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Motivating factors to climb the career ladder

ГлавнаяHomeProjectsThe «Committee of 20’s» surveyShort version of the surveyMotivating factors to climb the career ladder

The forces driving women’s and men’s career development are largely similar, though there are significant differences too. Normally men make careers because they don’t see any other way to realise their potential and live up to other people’s expectations. A successful female leader is still seen rather as an exception, but women are very rational regarding their career development. Companies which actively bring women into management teams use their potential and get good results in the process, building wellbalanced professional teams .

Leadership as a conscious choice

During the study it turned out that most of the executives consciously worked to get to executive positions, and money wasn’t always their key incentive. In many cases financial prosperity wasn’t the primary motive but rather was seen as “icing on the cake” of formal recognition of professional achievements.

The respondents believed the following factors for career development were the most important ones:

  • financial independence and freedom (93%);
  • professional independence and freedom (91%);
  • self-realisation (91%);
  • professional development (91%).

Power hunger, craving for recognition also were important career building incentives for most of the surveyed:

  • respect and recognition by peers (75%);
  • willingness to take control (74%);
  • desire to lead and manage (70%).

Financial interest (craving for riches) was mentioned by 61% of the respondents.

Compared with Russian companies’ staff, personnel of foreign firms were more often motivated by willingness to become leaders (78% against 66%) and peer respect and recognition (84% against 72%), and less often by the prospect to obtain professional independence and freedom (84% against 93%).

During the qualitative stage of the survey it turned out that apart from the “money issue”, the respondents of both sexes believed the main career building incentive was professional interest: desire to have a say in the business, need to implement their ideas, including about how the company should be run.

Similarities and differences between men’s and women’s incentives

Female executives more often than male ones are motivated by desire to realise their leadership potential and feed their business ambitions (76% vs 60%), and by willingness to win peer support and recognition (81% vs 66%). Gender-based differences in motivation to career development are largely explained by social expectations. Men tend to explain their incentives by wanting independence a management position gives, more responsibility and by their professional interests. However, there are some important incentives men tend not to speak about directly; these include power ambitions, desire to control other people and have a say in the processes brewing in the company. From a female point of view, men want to make a career because “there’s just no other way for them to go”. Also, it’s practically the only way to prove to all and to oneself how successful one is.

On the other hand women often are not constrained by such social expectations, so they don’t try to get promotion whatever it takes. Their career aspirations are more flexible; in addition to a vertical career women can afford to spread their competencies in a horizontal one. Furthermore, practically all women leaders surveyed in the course of this study noted that their successful careers were largely determined just by that flexibility, ability not to get stuck on promotion but use the chances that became available.

“Women manage their careers intuitively. On the one hand they use every chance, but on the other they don’t rush to their goals so fast. Men have just one goal, career. They realise that if they get there by 35 nothing would stop them from doing everything else afterwards – like starting a family. As to women, social expectations give them a lot of goals – making a family, having children and on top of that maybe realise themselves professionally in some way” (woman, general director of the Russian division of a large multinational corporation, manufacturing).