August 16, 2013 - Rachel Miller

Women avoid 'glass ceiling' by going it alone

New research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reveals that more and more female entrepreneurs are leaving corporate jobs to set up their own enterprises.

Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs is the second report in a three-part series by the CIPD on entrepreneurial practices. The research finds that the key drivers that motivate women to set up on their own are the desire for more autonomy, the need for greater work-life balance and flexibility, and to escape the corporate pay gap and 'glass ceiling'.

The CIPD's research shows that female-run enterprises are often particularly successful due to their unique approach to running a businesses:

  • women tend to be motivated more by a sense of purpose than the prospect of generating wealth;
  • they tend to grow their businesses incrementally and sustainably, avoiding debt in favour of self-financing wherever possible;
  • they tend to take a personal approach to marketing and relationship management, taking great care to protect their brands and enhance their reputations;
  • they tend to demonstrate great self-awareness and business acumen, with the ability to spot opportunities and recognise where bringing in new expertise can drive the business forward.

However, the women interviewed in the report also reported that they would be more motivated to start a business if they had access to a central business advice portal with guidance on financial business planning, franchising, up-skilling and training.

The report highlights the fact that there are more than 2.4 million unemployed women who want to work and that – if there were as many female entrepreneurs as there are male entrepreneurs – GDP could be boosted by 10% by 2030.

Dianah Worman OBE, public policy adviser at the CIPD, said: "It's clear from our research that women have a lot to offer to the economy – be it by starting up their own businesses or by letting their entrepreneurial flair and business savvy shine in the corporate world. Government is right to actively stimulate the wider take up of flexible working by employers and to seek to support women in setting up and growing their own enterprises."

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