Why women are more ambitious at work now than before the pandemic

 A recent study conducted by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Co. has revealed that workers, especially women, are more interested in career advancement now compared to before the pandemic. The study, which surveyed around 27,000 employees at 33 companies and analyzed staff demographic data from 276 companies in the U.S. and Canada, highlighted the impact of flexible work arrangements on employees' ambition for promotions.

The findings showed that 81% of women expressed interest in getting promoted, a 5-point increase from the previous year and a significant 10-point increase from 2019. Men also displayed higher ambitions, with 82% expressing a desire for promotion compared to 74% in 2019. Interestingly, one in five women credited flexibility in their working arrangements for helping them remain in their jobs without reducing their work hours.

Notably, there was no significant difference in ambition between those working remotely and those working on-site. Around 80% of remote workers expressed interest in promotion, similar to the 79% among on-site workers. The rise of remote work has provided new opportunities for both men and women, allowing them to achieve a better work-life balance and increasing their overall efficiency and productivity.

However, the study also highlights a potential disconnect between employees and their managers. While employees value the benefits of remote work, managers may have differing opinions. Despite efforts to bring workers back to the office after Labor Day, office occupancy remains at around 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to Kastle's office swipe data. These remote work effects seem to be more long-term and have a lasting impact on the way people work.

Overall, the study demonstrates that flexible work arrangements have unleashed the career ambitions of workers, particularly women, and have allowed them to pursue both professional success and personal goals more effectively.  

LeanIn.org initiated this report in 2015 to drive the advancement of women in the workplace. Although progress has been made, it has been relatively gradual. The research reveals that the representation of women in C-suite leadership positions increased to 28% this year, compared to just 17% in 2015. This demonstrates some improvement in gender diversity at the top levels of organizations.  

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