When respondents were asked to list their reasons for leaving jobs with large companies for jobs in smaller, entrepreneurial businesses:
- almost 80% pointed to the opportunity to take risks with new ideas and test personal limits
- the chance to make more money influenced 67% to move
- the ability to impact strategy was cited by 65%
- only 41% listed more time for family/personal interests.
A sign of changing times, 50% of women who left corporate jobs in 1994 or earlier said that the glass ceiling was an issue, while this was so for only 36% of those who left after 1997.
Underscoring this finding, women younger than 40 were motivated to make a change primarily to accumulate wealth and impact strategy, whereas those 40 or older believed they had peaked on the corporate ladder and needed to move in order to advance.
The average age of the women in the survey was 41 years.
In terms of salaries, the study showed that:
- more than half of the women earn more than $100,000
- about one-fifth earn more than $300,000
- one in ten top $500,000 in annual earnings.
Eighty-seven percent of the married women, who comprised 57% of the sample, earn more than half of their family’s income. A quarter bring home 75% to 100% of the household’s bacon.
The sample comprised 425 women who had previously worked at least five years for a large company. Of these women, 272 left to start small businesses and 153 left to join small businesses.
The survey was conducted by executive search firm Korn Ferry International, the Eugene M. Lang Center for Entrepreneurship at Columbia Business School, and the Duran Group.