Career plans for women need to recognise that increased pay and vertical promotion are not always the main drivers for in-work motivation.
By Mair Rowlands: Chwarae Teg – North Wales Regional Project Co-ordinator.
Chwarae Teg’s 2012 report: A Women’s Place showed that more than half of the women surveyed stated they wouldn’t be happy to continue in their current role, yet only 1 in 7 wanted a promotion.
Granted, gender barriers are often the reason why many women do not reach the highest tiers of management but we also wrongly assume that all women want to work and all women want to earn the high salaries and get that promotion. That is not necessarily the case for some women; their motivation for work couldn’t be more different.
If you are on a low income or a single mum your immediate motivation is to keep a roof over your head, feed your children and be around to get them from school and if you are achieving that then promotion often isn’t on your radar.
For others it may just be that the timing is wrong. There may be personal reasons or confidence issues that prevent them from applying at that time. Sometimes it’s not about personal responsibility but it may just be that they are happy with what they do and a promotion might change that.
If you are a nurse and enjoy working with patients would you take a promotion to a managerial role which resulted in you not working on the ward?
Alternately being extremely good at your job doesn’t necessarily mean you would make a good manager.
Promotion leads to more leadership responsibilities and if that’s not your strength then this may lead to you finding yourself out of your depth. It may be that a promotion may take you away from a defined career path and affect future chances of promotion to that job you are aiming for.
I worked full time from when my children were quite young, I have managed large teams, worked the long days, late nights and weekends so it’s a case of ‘been there, done that and got the t-shirt’.
As I got older my priorities changed and whereas I am happy in my current job I still want to develop new skills and invest in my own training and development and I want to be recognised for the skills and experience I have. Just because I am not looking for promotion doesn’t mean I am less committed to my employer.
Elbert Hubbard once said:
“Get happiness out of your work or you may never know what happiness is” and I believe that. Career plans need to recognise that not everybody wants to climb that ladder and those of us who don’t are just as committed to our employers as those who do.