Mothers more likely than women without children to want top exec jobs

Despite women's underrepresentation in the workforce, a new report shows many women — and men — aren't interested in top executive positions. However, mothers were more likely than women without children to desire a top leadership role, according to The Washington Post.

The research comes from Sheryl Sandberg's organization, Lean In, and Chicago-based consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

Here are five key findings from the report.

1. Researchers collected data from 118 companies and surveyed almost 30,000 employees. Released Sept. 30, the report asked employees about their ambitions and perceptions on career opportunities.

2. Women at all position levels were less likely than males to desire the highest corporate leadership jobs. While 72 percent of senior male managers said they wanted a top executive position, only 60 percent of female managers did. For entry-level employees, 47 percent of men said they wanted a top position, while 39 percent of women said the same.

3. However, mothers were 15 percent more likely than women without children to say they wanted an executive position. Meanwhile, women without children said they were not as interested in top jobs due to the stress and pressure that comes with holding one.

4. Almost an equal percentage of men and women credited their lack of interest in a senior executive role to balancing work and family. Sixty-two percent of men and 65 percent of women cited a work-family balance as the reason behind their minimal interest in the C-suite.

5. Giving out generous maternity leaves may not be as useful as some believe. Sixty-five percent of surveyed companies offered extended maternity leave, but only 4 percent of their female employees took it. Over 90 percent of men and women said they believed taking long leaves would harm their careers.

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