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Brazilian Women Rank No. 1 in Career Ambition According to Global Survey

  • Egon Zehnder Leaders & Daughters Global Survey Reveals Top Challenges and Goals for Women in the Workplace
  • Brazilian Women in Early Stages of Careers Aim for C-Suite More Than any Other Region Surveyed
  • Women in this Region are Well-Supported and Value Career Planning Platforms

Women in Brazil are highly ambitious and place great value on career growth and development opportunities, according to Egon Zehnder’s 2017 Leaders & Daughters Global Survey. Almost all (92 percent) of Brazilian women in the early stages of their careers aspire for executive/senior leadership ranks — the highest among all countries surveyed.

With Brazil at the top, we discovered that, overall, ambition among women in developing economies such as China (88 percent) and India (82 percent) is greater than more developed nations such as the United States (62 percent), Australia (61 percent), Germany (58 percent) and the United Kingdom (56 percent).

The survey examined more than 7,000 working women’s motivations, ambitions and their own definitions of professional success in seven countries around the world – Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Findings from Brazil

Reaching a leadership role is so important to working women in Brazil that more than half (56 percent) say they would accept a position with a lower starting salary and a clear career trajectory over a role with higher pay but undefined path for growth. This sentiment is most evident at the middle manager level, where 68 percent of respondents value opportunity over money, demonstrating a strong personal commitment to development.

Employers in Brazil appear to be quite supportive of this appetite for growth, as 94 percent of Brazilian women report they have been provided the chance for professional development throughout their careers and 68 percent note they are given platforms to actively participate in career planning — well above the global average of 45 percent. When women in Brazil do not advance in their career, it is sometimes due to them not taking advantage of or not speaking up for these types of opportunities. They wait to be recognized, or expect to be recognized, but they don’t actively request such recognition. They expect it to come naturally from their leadership.

A deeper look at the significance of development and planning shows nearly three-quarters of respondents have received training, and close to half have been offered a stretch assignment. In addition, 90 percent of respondents in this region believe active career planning is effective for leadership advancement, and 57 percent report the availability of such programs as an important consideration when looking for employment.

The desire for improvement continues even as Brazilian women reach the highest ranks. At the board level, they still seek connection and support, with 80 percent saying they would be interested in increased opportunities for networking with peers and would take advantage of a program that promotes relationships with senior leadership within their organization.

Challenges Remain

Over half of the respondents from Brazil believe it is more challenging for women to be promoted to senior management positions than it is for men. From our experience, we know that this sentiment reflects a gap in the Brazilian workforce between the still-small pipeline of qualified female executives and the next generation of educated, ambitious women.

Historically, the talent pool for highly-educated, multilingual women in Brazil — which is necessary to compete in a globalized economy — has been limited. Now, Brazilian women can leverage increased access to higher education, and companies are in a position to start filling the pipeline with a new wave of female talent ready and willing to advance.

We also believe advocacy and mentorship from current women leaders will be critical in bridging the gender parity gap. Even though the cultural pressure to become a wife or mother and devote less time to a career is starting to recede in Brazil, there is great value in guidance from someone who has navigated similar issues. Fortunately, 75 percent of working women in Brazil already have senior leaders advocating on their behalf, and 79 percent have access to senior mentors.

Cultivating a pipeline of motivated female talent and equipping them for success is just the beginning of long-term change towards gender parity in the workplace. Similarly, the Leaders & Daughters survey is just the beginning of a global discussion Egon Zehnder is expanding on as it hosts Leaders & Daughters events in more than 40 cities worldwide.

The events bring together the voices of more than 3,500 participants to share their stories of challenge and success. For full survey findings, including global and other regional results, please visit http://www.egonzehnder.com/leaders-and-daughters.html.

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