Defining Success

In 2013, original Accenture research finds that most professionals believe they can 'have it all.'


An Accenture survey released as part of our 2013 celebration of International Women’s Day found that more than two-thirds of female professionals around the world—and the same number of male respondents—say they can “have it all.” In fact, having both a successful career and a full life outside work is so important that many choose a job based on its potential impact on work-life balance.

Click here to download the full article. International Women’s Day 2013. This opens a new window. Read our research.

Click here to download MAKING WOMEN HAPPY {IN THE WORKPLACE}. This opens a new window. View our Infographic: Making Women Happy

Want to know what makes today’s women happy in the workplace? View this infographic based on Accenture’s Defining Success research to find out.

International Women's Day 2013 Survey Infographic.


Surveying 4,100 business professionals in 33 countries, the research sought to:

  • Better understand how professionals define success—in their careers and personal lives.

  • Explore career satisfaction, work-life balance and workplace priorities.

  • Examine how technology influences work-life balance.

Key Findings

Seventy percent of both women and men believe they can have a successful career as well as a full life outside work. However, 50 percent also said they cannot “have it all at the same time.”

  • Further, more than half (52 percent) say they have turned down a job due to concerns about its impact on work-life balance.

  • In fact, work-life balance tops respondents’ definitions of career success, ahead of money, recognition and autonomy (cited by 56 percent, 46 percent, 42 percent and 42 percent, respectively).

The research also found that technology plays a role in achieving work-life balance, although respondents express mixed feelings about its impact on their personal lives.

  • More than three-quarters (78 percent) agree technology enables them to be more flexible with their schedules, and 80 percent report that having flexibility in their work schedule is extremely or very important to work-life balance.

  • Yet 70 percent say technology brings work into their personal lives.

The research also covers a wide range of work-related topics that help define success in the workplace, including:

  • Job Satisfaction: In the current survey, 53 percent of women and 50 percent of men say they are satisfied with their jobs and not looking for new opportunities, compared to 43 percent of women and 41 percent of men, who expressed satisfaction in Accenture's 2012 research.

  • Rewarding workplaces: When asked what words describe a good work environment, "rewarding" (cited by 59 percent) tops respondents’ lists. "Honest," "flexible" and "interesting" follow (54 percent, 50 percent and 49 percent, respectively).

  • Tenure: Two-thirds of women (66 percent) and three-quarters of men (75 percent) have been with their current employers for more than four years.

  • Pay raises: The majority of respondents (58 percent of women; 64 percent of men) say they have asked for or negotiated a pay raise. These findings continue a steady upward trend: 49 percent of women and 57 percent of men in our 2012 research asked for or negotiated a pay raise, while 44 percent of women and 48 percent of men in the 2011 survey did the same.

  • Vacation and work: Three-quarters (75 percent) of respondents report they work frequently or occasionally during paid time off, generally checking email, catching up on work, working with no distractions, and participating in conference calls (cited by 71 percent, 44 percent, 35 percent and 30 percent, respectively). At the same time, 40 percent consider themselves workaholics.

  • Leaving: Top reasons for leaving a job include responsibilities that don’t match a job description (38 percent), pay (38 percent) and uninteresting work (34 percent).

  • Job search: When asked to name three things they would do to start a job search, respondents cited looking on job boards for open positions, contacting friends and others in their networks, and updating online profiles and information (cited by 30 percent, 24 percent and 21 percent, respectively).


The fact that work-life balance continues to be critically important to employees holds tremendous significance for employers. Companies that can help their employees navigate both their professional and personal lives are likely to see strong employee engagement and enjoy an advantage as they recruit and retain high performers.

Over the course of their careers, professionals will continue to define and re-define what success looks like, and for many, career goals and personal priorities will take precedence at different times. As today’s professionals strive to find the right balance, leading companies will find innovative ways to help them develop, grow and thrive.