Women’s career ambitions have increased over the past year, survey highlights

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The pandemic has taken a massive toll on women, as it has exacerbated many of the challenges they already faced, including access to finance, industry segmentation, family commitments and trust. There are, however, encouraging signs. While women still feel burnt out from work, a new survey finds ambition has rebounded from a year ago and remains highest for women of color.

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The new Women at Work survey, published by CNBC and Momentive, found that while ambition has increased, particularly among women of color, it is still below early levels of the pandemic.

Indeed, 66% of black women describe themselves as “very ambitious” when it comes to their careers, up from 54% in last year’s survey. Overall, 49% of women describe themselves as “very ambitious” when it comes to their careers, up from 45% last year, the survey found.

Additionally, 93% of black women, 90% of Hispanic women, 86% of white women and 83% of Asian women describe themselves as very or somewhat ambitious, the survey notes.

“A lot of the working mothers we work with are really excited about the opportunity to be in a flexible arrangement because their companies weren’t even considering this option before the pandemic,” Runa Knapp, co-founder and chief commercial officer of the recruitment platform Connectalent, told CNBC. “So as long as companies continue to make their environments inclusive of all types of employees, I expect the levels of ambition to continue to increase and perhaps even exceed what we have seen before the pandemic.”

Another encouraging sign, the survey shows that 20% of women say their careers have progressed in the past year, up slightly from 14% reported in March 2021. In contrast, 20% say their careers have experienced a setback in the past year. and 51% say things have stayed the same.

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Another key finding is that younger women and women of color are more likely to report career advancements. The survey finds that 32% of women aged 18-34 say their careers have progressed in the past year, compared to 19% of those aged 35-64 and just 7% of those aged 65 and over.

Finally, 28% of Hispanic women, 28% of Asian women and 26% of black women say their careers have progressed in the last year compared to 16% of white women and 15% of women of other races, adds the investigation.

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About the Author

Yael Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She has also worked as a VP/Senior Content Writer for major New York-based financial firms, including New York Life and MSCI. Yael is now independent and most recently co-authored the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare”, with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in journalism from New York University and one in Russian studies from Toulouse-Jean Jaurès University, France.

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