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‘Women at Work’ Annual Survey Reveals New Trends

CNBC and Momentive in March announced the results of their joint annual “Women at Work” survey. The survey finds that working women are more ambitious than they were last year and almost half (49%) of working women describe themselves as “very ambitious” when it comes to their careers, up four points from the 2021 survey but still five points below the pre-pandemic 2020 survey. As seen in previous surveys, ambition remains the highest for women of color. 66% of Black women, 55% of Hispanic women, and 46% of Asian women say they are “very ambitious,” versus 44% of white women.

With a growing emphasis on diversity in the workplace, that ambition is paying off for women of color, as well as for younger women. 32% of 18–34-year-olds say their career has advanced in the last year, compared to 19% of 35–64-year-old women. Young women and women of color are also more likely than older women and white women to say they talk to their managers frequently about their career goals.

Overall, the survey finds 20% of working women say their career has advanced in the past 12 months, up six points from 2021, and more than a third (34%) of women in the workforce are “very satisfied” with the amount of career growth available to them at their current jobs, which is similar to the pre-pandemic level.

The survey also found that working mothers continue to have a tougher time in the workplace than other women. 29% percent of women with children under 18 say their career has taken a setback in the last 12 months, versus 18% of women with older children or no children. 23% of women with children under 18 say their salary is lower now than it was a year ago, versus 15% of women with no children and 17% of women with children 18 and older.

“Companies are boosting wages and offering big perks in the scramble to keep workers happy, but women who quit their jobs in the last year were more likely to be looking for better work-life integration than more cash or swag,” said Jon Cohen, chief research officer at Momentive. “These data indicate that working mothers, in particular, are prioritizing mental health as they work to accelerate their careers.”

Additional key findings from the survey include:
Career advances for women of color, but not higher salaries:
• 28% of Hispanic women and 26% of Black women say their careers have advanced in the last 12 months.
• 19% of Black women say they talk to their managers weekly about their careers, versus 13% of white women.
• 42% of white women say they are earning a higher salary than they were a year ago, versus 40% of Black women and 33% of Hispanic women.

Women are quitting jobs at the same rate as men: 
• 11% of women say they quit a job in the last 12 months, which is the same as men.
• Men are more likely than women to say they quit a job to take a new job that advanced their careers (45% of men who quit versus 37% of women who quit), or to take a job with a better salary (40% of men who quit versus 35% of women who quit).

Other reasons women quit: 
• 29% “didn’t want to deal with the stress anymore.”
• 11% over concerns about getting COVID-19 or a family member getting COVID-19.
• 9% to start their own business.
• 8% to take care of children full-time.
• Women with children under 18 are more likely to have thought about quitting their job than women with no children, but they were less likely to actually quit.
• 52% of women who considered quitting their job (but didn’t actually quit) say they thought about quitting because they don’t want to deal with the stress of work anymore, versus 41% of men who thought about quitting for that reason.

More than half of working women are still experiencing burnout:  
• Over half of women say their mental health suffers to the point of burnout because of their job, all or some of the time (54%), roughly unchanged from last year (53%).
• A quarter (24%) of women are working more hours now compared to a year ago, up from 19% a year ago, less than half (46%) are working about as many hours as before, similar to last year (47%), and 20% report working fewer hours now, down from 24%
last year.
• Around 3 in 10 (29%) women say the biggest source of work-related stress stems from being overwhelmed with work and 9% of women say their stress comes from a fear of losing their job.

Complete results of the survey can be found at: surveymonkey.com/curiosity/cnbc-women-at-work-2022.

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