Women Small Business Owners Divided on Limits of the Glass Ceiling
CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Women small business owners are feeling more optimistic about annual
revenue and growth expectations than their male counterparts, according
to the inaugural Bank
of America Women Business Owner Spotlight, a study based on a survey
of 1,000 small business owners across the country, focusing on the
aspirations and pain points of women business owners.
According to the study, 54 percent of women entrepreneurs expect their
revenue to increase over the next 12 months, compared to 48 percent of
male small business owners. In addition, 60 percent of women business
owners expect to grow their business over the next five years (vs. 52
percent of men). The two main sources of funding used by women
entrepreneurs as they grow include their business credit card (28
percent) and bank funding (23 percent).
Year over year, women small business owners’ confidence has largely
remained steady as their male counterparts’ confidence has declined. The
number of male entrepreneurs who expect revenue to increase over the
next 12 months has declined by 18 percentage points, and the number
planning to grow their business over the next five years fell by 16
percentage points since spring 2015. Women’s revenue expectations and
growth plans remained steady year over year, declining by 3 percentage
points or less.
“Female entrepreneurs are excited about the future and focused on the
success of their small businesses. They are demonstrating much greater
levels of optimism than their male counterparts,” said Sharon Miller,
managing director, head of Small Business, Bank of America. “However,
women small business owners do express concerns about certain areas,
which they are taking into account as they continue to grow.”
Women small business owners say glass ceiling exists, but split on
whether it limits their opportunities
A majority of both women (77 percent) and men (56 percent) small
business owners surveyed believe the glass ceiling exists for some women
and minorities. Despite a strong majority acknowledging the glass
ceiling, women business owners are split on whether it directly affects
them. While 54 percent of female entrepreneurs don’t feel impacted, 46
percent have felt limited by the glass ceiling at some point in their
Despite that, the majority of female small business owners believe they
have the same access as their male counterparts to clients (79 percent)
and outside resources (75 percent). However, 28 percent still feel they
do not have the same access to capital as their male counterparts, and
25 percent say they don’t have the same access to new business.
When it comes to hiring or managing staff, 79 percent of female
entrepreneurs say they experience the same challenges compared to men,
with an additional 8 percent saying they experience fewer challenges
than their male counterparts.
Female small business owners feeling empowered and successful
When asked how being a small business owner makes them feel, 49 percent
of female small business owners surveyed said it makes them feel
empowered, 10 percentage points higher than their male counterparts.
Fifty-four percent of women stated that it makes them feel successful,
and more female small business owners reported it makes them feel more
content (35 percent), than stressed (33 percent).
Fifty-one percent of women entrepreneurs said they started their own
business because they wanted to be their own boss, and 20 percent did so
because they wanted to excel financially. Only 8 percent of women small
business owners started their business because they were unhappy in
their previous job.
Economic concerns impacting women small business owners
While both women and men small business owners share similar views on
top economic concerns over the next 12 months, more women small business
owners are concerned about:
- Corporate tax rates (54 percent of women vs. 45 percent of men).
Strength of the U.S. dollar (59 percent of women vs. 45 percent of
- Commodities prices (52 percent of women vs. 44 percent of men).
Women small business owners are more likely to support raising the
minimum wage; 55 percent of women entrepreneurs think raising the
minimum wage would have a positive impact on the economy, compared to
only 41 percent of men.
Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight
GfK Public Affairs
and Corporate Communications conducted the Bank of America Women
Business Owner Spotlight Survey for the summer 2016 online between March
17 and April 19, 2016 using a pre-recruited online sample of small
business owners. GfK contacted a national sample of 1,000 small business
owners in the United States with annual revenue between $100,000 and
$4,999,999 and employing between 2 and 99 employees.
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Reporters May Contact:
Don Vecchiarello, Bank of America,