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08 March 2018

Women today: Confident, ambitious and ready to progress

Did you know we’re seeing a tidal wave of organisations across the world injecting greater urgency into their efforts to tackle gender imbalances in the workplace? But with progress so slow, what has to change for women at work and how can organisations deliver diversity strategies that will drive real progress?

To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, PwC is releasing our new research publication Time to talk: What has to change for women at work, as we aim to help answer this challenging question, shape the debate, and help accelerate change – both at PwC and in business at large.

The report shares the views of over 3,600 professional women working in 27 different industry sectors and from over 60 countries around the world.  And specifically focuses on women in the pipeline, age 28-40, because it’s at this stage that we start to see female representation gaps widen and the challenges of combining personal and career priorities increase.


Two clear messages shine through, firstly: that women are more career confident and ambitious than ever, they are ready to progress, and secondly: that employers still have a lot of work to do to capitalise on this female potential and drive change.  

 Rising female confidence and ambition

Women are more confident and ambitious than ever. 82% are confident in their ability to fulfil their career aspirations, 77% in their ability to lead, and 73% are actively seeking career advancement opportunities. Furthermore, they have strong leadership aspirations, with 75% of women saying it was important to them they reach the top of their chosen career, namely obtain a leadership position. Women are confident, ambitious and ready to progress.

Women are also more proactively pursuing their career goals by actively negotiating for raises, promotions and seeking out the experiences seen as critical to career advancement. And our survey shows it is working – there is a strong positive correlation that the women who negotiate are getting what they ask for, particular with regards to high-visibility projects and stretch assignments.

More work to do: An ecosystem for change

And while there is a lot to be positive about, this is not yet translating into the levels of advancement it should and there is a huge amount of work employers still need to do. The report identifies an ecosystem of three elements which are essential to creating a more inclusive working environment where women – and men – can succeed. But these won’t be effective in isolation. Organisations need to focus on all three elements simultaneously to create real change. These are:

  • Transparency and trust matter. A lot.
  • Support networks and advocacy go a long way. Women need strategic support.
  • Life, family and work. There are grave concerns regarding flexibility and motherhood penalties.

We’d like to invite you learn more about what has to change for women at work, the career aspirations of women and the ecosystem for progress by visiting www.pwc.com/timetotalk.


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