SINGAPORE - The majority of female professionals in Singapore define success as being able to maintain a balance between their work and personal lives, a study by LinkedIn has found.

The 'What Women Want @ Work' study found that 58.3 per cent of women regard having a work-life balance an indication of professional success.

This definition of professional success appears to be a recent phenomenon. According to LinkedIn, only 33.2 per cent of women prioritised work-life balance as a determining factor of success a decade ago. 

The survey also revealed that women in Singapore feel confident about their careers and are positive about juggling their work life with their personal lives.

Of the 400 respondents in Singapore, 67.3 per cent consider their careers 'successful', while 67.5 per cent believe that they can 'have it all', including a fulfilling career, relationships and children.

On the issue of how children will affect career ambitions, however, women have differing views. The study found that two out of three (63.5 per cent) of those currently without children, plan to slow down their careers when they have a child, while the remaining feel they will not.

The survey also found that fewer women place an emphasis on salary when defining their professional success. Compared to 64.7 per cent in 2003, only 57.8 per cent  of women today feel that salary was the main factor which determined success.

Work-life balance spells success for S'pore women

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013


Flexible work conditions

More than two-thirds (68.3 per cent) of working women also said they want greater flexibility within the workplace.

A total of 81.3 per cent of respondents also said that having a flexible work environment was the most important factor in determining the 'success of the next generation of professional women'.

This significantly outweighed the emphases on leadership opportunities (65.0 per cent), supportive government legislation for working parents (62.5 per cent), and greater representation of women at senior levels (60.8 per cent).

Director of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn, Feon Ang, said that it was crucial for employers to learn what women were looking for in their careers.

She said: "Employers in Singapore can gain significantly from learning about what women want, given that a considerable percentage of the workforce here is made up of females, with many also holding leadership positions."

"It is quite clear that to women, attractive pay and positions of power hold less significance. Instead, workplace success is about having an interesting and fulfilling job and being able to achieve the right balance between work and personal life," she added.

Career challenges

More than half  (54.3 per cent) of the respondents told LinkedIn that they could not see a clear career path.

In addition, inequality in pay (46.5 per cent), the lack of a mentor or role model (42.8 per cent), and the challenges of juggling family life with work (40.3 per cent) were perceived to be major inhibitors of professional success.

Globally, issues such as the perception of the 'glass ceiling' and sexism in the workplace were not perceived as widespread concerns for female professionals in most countries.

While 71.5 per cent of women globally feel that their looks had little relevance to their careers, 20 per cent of respondents in Singapore still believe that appearances could affect professional success.

About 15.5 per cent of Singaporean respondentss said that they had even used their looks to their advantage.