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Women with College Degrees are Less Ambitious, Want Time Over Money

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on November 29, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Feeling less ambitious lately? You may not be alone. A new survey suggests professional women's ambitions are waning, and that most would prefer flex time over a pay raise.

The survey by More magazine did not focus specifically on female lawyers, but it offers some insight into what professional women -- with college degrees, between 35 and 60 years old, and making at least $60,000 a year -- are thinking in general.

It's also being met with some criticism. As one website points out, the results only seem to promote stereotypes that women have worked hard to overcome.

Among the survey's key findings:

  • 73% of women would not apply for their boss' job.
  • 38% don't want to deal with the stress, office politics, and responsibility that come with being a manager.
  • 13% of women were promoted in the last year.
  • 10% don't want a promotion, because of the sacrifices it would entail.
  • 43% say they are less ambitious than they were 10 years ago.
  • 65% say it's more important to have more free time in their lives than a bigger paycheck.
  • 40% would take a pay cut for more flexibility in their schedules.
  • 30% feel that asking for a flexible schedule would hurt their careers.
  • 54% say other women have never helped them advance.
  • 9% say other women have deliberately held them back.

For female lawyers considering a career change, the magazine suggests looking outside of the law. The top 10 careers that offer the best work/life balance are:

  1. Personal financial adviser,
  2. Pharmacist,
  3. Web professional,
  4. Physical/occupational therapist,
  5. Medical professional (i.e., dental hygienist, physician assistant, registered nurse),
  6. Accountant,
  7. Writer,
  8. Management analyst,
  9. Social worker, and
  10. Public relations specialist.

The working woman in charge of More, editor Lesley Jane Seymour, says to keep the survey's results in perspective. They're likely more a reflection of today's bad economy than a true decline in women's ambitions, she says.

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