Most Business Professionals are Unhappily Employed

Unhappily Employed Even those who have jobs seem to be unhappily employed, according to new research from Accenture. More than half of business professionals around the world don't like their jobs, but at least they're willing to stay with their companies and create new opportunities.

The findings have little to do with gender. Almost equal numbers of professional men and women say they're dissatisfied -- 57 percent of women and 58 percent of men. But nearly three-quarters (70 percent of women and 69 percent of men), plan to stay with their companies, according to the research that was released as part of Accenture's 2011 celebration of International Women's Day.

The research also found that men and women pretty much agreed on the top reasons for respondents' dissatisfaction. In order, the reasons are: being underpaid, a lack of opportunity for growth, no opportunity for career advancement, and the feeling of being trapped.

Regarding the factors that would make respondents want to pursue career advancement, women and men were also in agreement. They cited the top factors that would make them want to continue working a particular job, in order of importance: better compensation; new, challenging assignments; flexible work arrangements; and leadership positions within their companies.

"We're seeing an unanticipated workplace dynamic," said Adrian Lajtha, chief leadership officer at Accenture. "Today's professionals are not job hunting, despite expressing dissatisfaction. Instead, they are focused on their skill sets and on seeking the training, the resources and the people that can help them achieve their goals."

The research did find some differences between the genders, as well as the generations. Among them are:

Men vs. women
  • Women overall were somewhat less likely than men to say they have asked for pay raises (44 percent versus 48 percent) and promotions (28 percent versus 39 percent).
  • More women report that their careers are not fast tracked (63 percent of women versus 55 percent of men).
  • Fewer women say they aim to reach C-level or equivalent positions (14 percent versus 22 percent).
  • When asked about factors that help women advance in their organizations, more than two-thirds of women (68 percent) but only about half of men (55 percent) cited hard work and long hours.

Baby boomers vs. Generation X and Y

The research also identified differences among generations, particularly in terms of mentors. Just one-quarter (25 percent) of baby boomer respondents (those born before 1964) worked with a mentor, compared with 32 percent of Generation X respondents (those born between 1965 and 1978) and 37 percent of Generation Y respondents (those born after 1979). Of these respondents, having a mentor help plan career moves was most popular among Generation X, compared to Baby Boomers or Generation Y (reported by 51 percent, 40 percent and 43 percent, respectively).

Additionally, while all groups cited higher pay as the top reason for pursuing career advancement, the youngest participants -- the members of Generation Y -- were significantly more motivated by pay than Generation X respondents or Baby Boomers (cited by 73 percent, 67 percent, and 58 percent, respectively). That's a switch from recent publicity about Gen Y being more cause -- or purpose oriented and less into working for the money.

Next: Unhappy at Work? Ask Yourself These 7 Questions

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