92% of women aren’t putting their professional ambitions into practice
- Two in five (43%) women describe themselves as being in a “means to an end” job
- Only a quarter of women describe themselves as having a career
- Family commitments more likely to prevent women (26%) from pursuing dream job than men (18%)
A staggering nine in ten women (92%) feel they are not putting their professional ambition into practice, according to a new poll* commissioned by one of the UK’s largest independent higher education institutions, GSM London.
The GSM London survey questioned 1,000 UK adults in full and part-time employment on how they feel about their working lives. It found that two in five women see their job as a “means to an end”, and revealed vast differences in work satisfaction based on whether respondents view their employment as a job or a career:
- Three quarters of women define their current working situation as a job, which a quarter (24%) of female employees are unhappy in
- Just 25% of women describe themselves as having a career, compared to a third (32%) of men
- Thirty percent of British employees with a ‘job’ say they are unhappy at work, against just 11% of those with a ‘career’
- Fifty-four percent of British employees with a ‘job’ see it as a means to an end, versus just 10% of those with a ‘career’
Surprisingly, the way people see their work situation varies very little with age, though there is a noticeable increase in the number of men and women who say they have a career between the ages of 25-34.
However, despite this temporary improvement in career progression and satisfaction, 47% of female employees believe they are too old to make a change by the time they are 34.
Alongside age, family commitments (26%) are also a major factor in preventing women from pursuing their dream job, with the issue of family significantly preventing women from changing career compared to men (18%). Lack of confidence (24%), lack of adequate qualifications (17%) and being too comfortable in their current role (14%) were also cited as barriers for women to chase their dream job.
Alex Reid, Careers Adviser at GSM London, said: “All evidence suggests that people who feel they have fulfilling careers and have high levels of job satisfaction are the most productive employees, so it’s a real concern that so many people appear be unhappy at work. The good news is that the labour market is becoming more fluid, with the idea that people will hold multiple jobs throughout their working lives fast becoming the norm. This means that people have a greater opportunity than ever before to take steps that set them on new career paths.
“A lot of people don’t have the luxury of stepping out of the workforce for extended periods, regardless of how unhappy they are in their jobs or how keen they are to develop new skills. This is why higher education is changing. For instance, GSM London has pioneered accelerated degrees that can be completed in two rather than three years, and are introducing work-based learning programmes. We’ve also invested in a range of careers programmes that help people develop attributes attractive to employers alongside their studies.
“Our insight also suggests that age does not need to be as much of a barrier as our survey suggests people think. Over 80% of our students are mature, and prove to be strong candidates for employers looking to bring people in that combine degree-level skills with rich life experience.
“As our research shows, those with fulfilling careers are much happier than those with jobs, so it’s definitely worth people considering all options for change and overcoming assumptions about the things that might stand in their way.”
To find out more about making a career change and GSM London, click here.