Women Need to Move Outside Comfort Zones, Financial Women’s Association Poll Finds

February 17, 2015

Poll Reveals Top Moves Women Should Make in 2015 to Advance Careers

New York, NY — A new poll by the Financial Women’s Association (FWA) finds that the number-one action women should take to advance their careers in 2015 is to move outside their comfort zone.

The FWA survey was conducted in February, and asked respondents to rate the three most important moves women should make in 2015 to advance their careers.

Topping the list:

  • Move outside your comfort zone (77.86%)
  • Be more vocal/advocate for yourself (57.25%), and
  • Engage in more networking (47.33%).

“Whereas networking was the common career advice of the past, taking risk appears to be the mantra of the day,” said FWA Executive Director Jennifer Openshaw. “It’s easy to stay within our comfort zones. But as companies increasingly embrace innovation and speed, employees — women especially — will need to welcome new ideas and opportunities, especially if they want to leapfrog to the next career level.”

The FWA survey, taken by 131 respondents, also suggests that women need to advocate for themselves more and increase their use of networks and connections.

The FWA offered several suggestions for women and leaders given the poll results:

  • Women can advocate for themselves in several ways, from leading a new initiative at their company, to authoring an article or research paper, to convening top leaders in their industry to show the value of their expertise or network — and involving others in the process.
  • Finding a mentor can be helpful (and may lead to higher earnings) – either through formal or informal programs in the workplace or through associations. The FWA, for example, enables members to reach other members and for college women and high school students to participate in formal mentoring programs.
  • Be mindful of “perfectionism,” a trait that can hold women back from participating in conversations, providing an opinion, asking for a raise, or taking on a challenging new job.
  • Women should broaden their networks. Research shows women operate in smaller, close-knit networks comprised of people they like, which can hamper advancement and the opportunity to be visible. Women can expand their networks in the workplace, through professional associations, industry conferences, and/or their alma maters.
  • Women can work toward advancing themselves by raising their hand and taking on additional new responsibilities, possibly allowing them to be more broadly known.

Founded in 1956, the FWA provides a forum to help advance the leadership of women in the financial community. The New York-based organization partners with companies to share best practices and provides opportunities for members to build their careers, meet industry leaders, earn the support of powerful women and major companies, and contribute to the next generation of female leaders.

To become a member of the FWA, click here.


The FWA Asks: What’s the most important thing women can do to advance their careers in 2015?

To download this graph, right click on the image.

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Jamie Epstein, FWA
(212) 533-2141 x301

Follow Us: @FWANY

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