Success drivers, career pathways and work-life balance: life as a woman in business in Australia

According to new research by Pinstripe Media and Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN), work-life balance, a lack of confidence, and limited access to funding are among the hurdles facing female founders.

The Way We Are: Australian Women in Business report canvassed entrepreneurs around Australia to get their opinions on the issues that matter most, from career pathways to success drivers, technology and work-life balance. And judging by the findings, for women in business, it can be a rollercoaster ride. Still, there is a sense of optimism within the community.

Does entrepreneurship favour men?

Sixty-two per cent of female founders say the outlook for women entrepreneurs is positive. Yet most agree there is plenty of room for improvement. Nine in ten women surveyed believe females face biases in business that men don’t. Yet, the number one career barrier for women is a lack of confidence, with four out of ten women affected. In fact, women were twice as likely to say they lacked confidence as their male counterparts. A lack of role models and mentors was also problematic.

Show me the money

Access to finance is key to the success of any business, yet the report discovered many women struggle to gain the funding they need for their startup dreams. Forty per cent of women survey cited a lack of access to funding as a barrier to success.

Leadership and women in business

Nearly all women survey suggested that the path to leadership is a bumpy ride. To gain success, 70 per cent of women said they needed grit and determination, while a further seven in ten suggested a positive attitude was essential. While women may have tapped on the glass ceiling, there is still plenty of work to be done to breakthrough. Six in ten women suggest a willingness to take risks may be necessary to succeed.

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Many women believe networking and belonging to a like-minded group of professionals is important to achieve success. Learning and development” is the number one benefit of belonging to a network, experienced by 8 in 10 women (this is significantly higher than men in networks, experienced by only 5 in 10). 

Women pay it forward

The role of mentorship was heavily cited as the key to success, with 95 per cent of women thinking it was important to have a mentor. However, a lack of available mentors meant only 56 per cent of women had mentorship available to them.

Judging by results, women in business have a strong sense of community. As a result, many want to pay forward their existing success by mentoring other women. Forty-four per cent of women want to be mentors, and 30 per cent are already mentoring. Asked what makes a good mentor, the overwhelming response was: someone who’s been there and can communicate well and problem-solve with you.

The work-life balance conundrum

Many women still struggle with the issue of work-life balance. Two in 3 three women (65 per cent) feel overworked, with only 1 in 3 achieving work-life balance or better.  Keys to achieving work-life balance include time blocking for yourself, loving what you do, knowing your purpose, delegating, and staying healthy.

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Is technology driving women’s success?

A quarter of women surveyed believed technology plays an essential role in success. Embracing new technology and learning how to use it are key, and automation and using SaaS platforms to streamline work. Still, the majority of women don’t believe they are as tech-savvy as they could be. Asked to rate their tech-savviness, women self-scored a B+ compared to the A- men rated themselves. The results could be attributed to women being less “self-promoting” than men or could be that old chestnut: a lack of confidence.

Are you keen to find out more about fostering success as a female founder? Then join us for our free  Building Brave Businesses: Lessons from Female Founders event on October 27  2021. Hosted by Jo Burston and featuring a keynote from Oz Harvest founder Ronni Kahn and a panel of amazing women: it’s an unmissable event. Register now

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