Why So Many American Workers Lack Ambition
Life + Money

Why So Many American Workers Lack Ambition

Most American workers have no ambition, judging by a new study.   

Two-thirds of the more than 3,600 workers recently surveyed by CareerBuilder said they don’t aspire to leadership or management positions. The workers were both full time and part time and worked in both the private sector and government. 

Additionally, only seven percent said they’re aiming for senior or C-level management, according to a new report released Wednesday morning. 

Related: What Women Can Learn from Men at Work 

There are several reasons for this lack of career drive in the U.S. One is that a majority of respondents say they’re satisfied with their current job. Another is that a third of people don’t want to sacrifice their work life balance for anything more taxing. And 17 percent said they don’t think they have the necessary education to move up in their careers. 

However, African-American and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers are more likely to aspire to a leadership role compared to the overall average, at 39 percent and 44 percent respectively. 

A lack of female executives and minority executives in corporate C-suites has long been a criticism of corporate America – and one in five workers surveyed by CareerBuilder, or 20 percent, still perceive the existence of a glass ceiling at their organization. Among those who actually aspire to leadership positions, that percentage is even higher. 

Related: 5 Smart Steps to Combat Workplace Bullying 

“While most workers don’t want a top job, it is important for organizational leaders to promote a culture of meritocracy in which all workers, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation, are able to reach senior-level roles based on their skills and past contributions alone,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder in a press release. 

CareerBuilder conducted the survey online in May and June with the help of the U.S. Harris Poll. The surveyed workers were all above age 18. 

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