C-Suite Ambitions: Insights from New Empower Research

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In recent research conducted by Empower, intriguing revelations emerged regarding American attitudes towards career advancement and workplace satisfaction. The survey, conducted by Morning Consult from January 3-4, 2024, gathered responses from 1,117 Americans aged 18 and above, offering a comprehensive snapshot of contemporary workplace sentiments.

According to the survey, just 3 in 10 Americans aspire to reach the C-suite, with Millennials showing the highest interest at 39%. Surprisingly, 31% of respondents are content with their current job description and are not seeking promotions or raises.

The study highlights that while money remains the top driver of job satisfaction for 67% of respondents, surpassing aspirations for leadership roles, many express concerns about incompetent managers (24%) and colleagues (26%). Work satisfaction is also tied to recognition for loyalty (40%) rather than challenging projects (24%).

Interestingly, 38% of respondents, particularly Gen Z (55%), feel they are not adequately compensated for exceeding their job descriptions. Moreover, nearly a quarter (23%) are not working at full capacity and lack motivation to work harder.

In terms of workplace preferences, Americans prioritise greater access to financial advice and benefits, with 44% wishing for more one-on-one financial support. Retirement benefits, such as plan matching (71%) and automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans (54%), are also highly valued.

The study unveils a “Workplace Wishlist,” with key desires including more financial planning support (39%), financial coaching opportunities (48%), and flexible work arrangements such as a four-day workweek (48%).

The findings suggest a paradigm shift in employee priorities, with a greater emphasis on financial stability and work-life balance over traditional notions of career advancement. Employers are urged to reevaluate their benefit offerings and workplace policies to align with these evolving preferences, potentially leading to improved employee satisfaction and retention rates.
As employees focus on financial stability and retirement readiness in 2024, employers should consider prioritising benefits that address these needs, such as retirement plan matching, financial coaching, and flexible work options, to attract and retain top talent.