Survey: Female Ambition and Opportunities in Seven Countries

Leaders & Daughters, a 2017 study by professional services firm Egon Zehnder of 7,000 professional women in the United States, India, Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, and the United Kingdom, revealed that professional ambition and opportunities vary by both age and country.

The study measured various categories, including salary considerations, career ambitions, gender bias, mentorship, career influences, and professional challenges.

The findings reveal that professional women are ambitious and empowered, especially when young and early in their careers. The level of engagement and drive—and feelings that opportunities exist for them—go down with age.

Here are a few key findings.
* Of the women surveyed, 74 percent said they aspire to reach senior/executive leadership ranks within their organization. Ambition is higher in developing economies such as Brazil (92 percent), China (88 percent), and India (82 percent) and lower in the US (62 percent), Australia (61 percent), Germany (58 percent), and the UK (56 percent).
* As women advance in their career and age, desire to advance into top leadership declines across the board, dropping to 57 percent.
* Women in the C-suite who reported feeling gender bias “most acutely” work in India (33 percent) and the US (19 percent).
* Only 54 percent of women overall had access to senior leaders who act as mentors or informal sponsors. India led the way at 81 percent. This advocacy rate declines as age increases.
* Women in developing countries are more likely to receive professional development opportunities—India (95 percent), Brazil (94 percent), and China (92 percent)—than in Australia (80 percent), Germany (77 percent), the US (75 percent), and the UK (72 percent).

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