Two-thirds of American workers said they are not aiming for the corner office, according to a new CareerBuilder survey, which also finds that more than half are not motivated to do so because they’re happy in their current roles. Roughly one third (34 percent) of workers aspire to leadership positions, with only 7 percent aiming for senior or C-level management.
- By an 11 percentage point margin, men (40 percent) are more likely than women (29 percent) to desire a leadership role.
- Additionally, African Americans (39 percent) and LGBT (44 percent) workers are more likely to aspire to a leadership role than the national average.
- 32 percent of workers with disabilities aspire to leadership positions
- 35 percent of Hispanics, near the national average.
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?
Fifty-two percent say they are simply satisfied in their current roles, while 34 percent don’t want to sacrifice work life balance.
Seventeen percent say they do not have the necessary education.
“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.”
A lack of female and minority executives has long been a criticism of corporate America, but only 20 percent or workers said they believe their organizations have glass ceilings—unseen barriers preventing women and minorities from reaching higher job levels.
However, when looking only at workers who aspire to management and senior management positions, the percentage increases to 24 percent and is even higher among females (33 percent), Hispanics (34 percent), African Americans (50 percent) and workers with disabilities (59 percent).
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.
Of note, only 9 percent of nondiverse males think there is a glass ceiling for women and minorities at their organization.
Some companies choose to address the issue directly. Twenty-seven percent of employers have initiatives to support females pursuing leadership roles and 26 percent have initiatives to support minorities. Thirteen percent of employees at these companies think there is a glass ceiling.