Paying a price for success

Jul 30 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Women pay a high personal price for success in the business world, according to new research, risking marriage and home life to get to the top.

A survey by NatWest and Director magazine has found that while more than eight out of ten male company directors are married, the figure for women is only just over half.

The survey of 470 directors also found that there are four times as many single women in boardroom as men - 33 per cent against eight per cent - and more than twice as many divorcees - 12 per cent compared with five per cent.

The survey portrays the typical male company director as married man, aged between 46 and 65. His female colleague, however, is a single or divorced high-flyer aged under 36. She is also more likely to be a graduate – fewer than half of men (46 per cent) and only four out of ten women make it to the boardroom without a university degree.

And although male business leaders outnumber women by ten to one, in the aspiring 26-36 age group there were three times as many women as men.

NatWest’s Fay Hogg said: "Women pay a huge price in terms of relationships and general quality of life to keep up with men in the business world.

"The younger generation of directors shows women climbing up the corporate ladder faster than their male colleagues. However, this success is often fuelled by working longer hours and sacrificing more of their personal time and happiness.

“It seems that, although today's female directors are breaking through the glass ceiling, success still comes at a cost."

What’s more, the survey found, just over a quarter of women surveyed earn less than £50,000 a year compared to only 11 per cent of their male counterparts. More than four out of ten men earned over £100,000 compared to only a quarter of women. Another quarter of women earn less than £50,000 compared to only one in ten men.

Women also appear to give up to give up more of their home life for work. One in five men said that they worked during the weekend while one in four women are working a six day week.

But both genders displayed workaholic tendencies, with almost half not taking their full holiday entitlement.

Nevertheless, figures from NatWest show that there is no shortage of women wanting to set up in business, with 130,000 women starting businesses in 2001, compared to 90,000 in 1996.