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Many workers don't want top jobs

Monday October 20, 2014 Written by 
Most workers are not aiming for the corner office, according to the results of a new CareerBuilder survey.

Approximately one-third of American workers (34 per cent) aspire to leadership positions, and only seven per cent are aiming for senior or C-level management. Men (40 per cent) are more likely than women (29 per cent) to desire a leadership role. Thirty-two per cent of workers with disabilities do the same.

The nationwide survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 13 to June 6, included a representative sample of 3,625 full-time workers in government and the private sector across salary levels, industries, and company sizes.

Why are workers content to avoid climbing the corporate ladder? A majority (52 per cent) say they are simply satisfied in their current roles, and one-third (34 per cent) don’t want to sacrifice work-life balance to attain a more senior position. Seventeen per cent of workers say they do not have the necessary education to advance into a leadership position.

“While most workers don’t want a top job, it is important for organizational leaders to promote a culture of meritocracy in which all workers, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation, are able to reach senior-level roles based on their skills and past contributions alone,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “The survey found that employees at companies that have initiatives to support aspiring female and minority leaders are far less likely to say a glass ceiling holds individuals back.”

Worker perceptions of a glass ceiling

A lack of female and minority executives has long been a criticism of corporate America, but to what extent do workers feel organizations hold these groups back? One in five workers (20 per cent) feel his or her organization has a glass ceiling – an unseen barrier preventing women and minorities from reaching higher job levels.

However, when looking only at workers who aspire to management and senior management positions, this figure increases to 24 per cent and is even higher among females (33 per cent), Hispanics (34 per cent), African Americans (50 per cent) and workers with disabilities (59 per cent).

The perception of a glass ceiling is not as prevalent among LGBT workers aspiring to leadership roles; 21 percent feel there is a barrier to leadership at their organization, slightly less than the national average.

Only percent of non-diverse males think there is a glass ceiling for women and minorities at their organization.

Some companies choose to address the issue directly. Twenty-seven per cent of employers have initiatives to support females pursuing leadership roles and 26 per cent have initiatives to support minorities. Thirteen per cent of employees at these companies think there is a glass ceiling.

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