Beth Marcello, director of Women’s Business Development, shares the results of PNC’s latest Economic Outlook survey.
A quick online search for “female business confidence” will yield a flood of self-help articles on how women can boost their self-confidence. But the results of PNC’s recent Economic prospects Research shows that the majority of women entrepreneurs (WBOs) already have more confidence in the same positions than men. This goes hand in hand with PNC’s commitment to helping WBOs achieve equal access to opportunities and capital and reduce the gender pay gap.
There is no doubt that current economic conditions – including supply chain disruptions and political and geopolitical uncertainties – have dampened optimism for entrepreneurs across the board. But four in ten WBOs said they were very optimistic about their own businesses, and more than eight in ten were very confident about their future success. Perhaps most importantly, at least for me, is that almost half of respondents said their self-confidence comes from their own hard work and drive.
This is the second time in as many years that WBOs have cited their own resilience as a source of their confidence. It seems that the same adaptability and flexibility that helped their businesses survive the pandemic are the source of their self-confidence and optimism today.
Last year’s survey found that almost half (49%) of women-owned businesses reported that their businesses were functioning differently than before the pandemic, compared to 38% of male-owned businesses (MBOs). Many of the changes implemented by WBOs have been for the benefit of their employees, and they are still more likely than their male counterparts to continue or accelerate these actions, including offering flexible working arrangements (48%), higher wages (38% ) and improvements in employee health or safety (33%).
The adaptability and willingness to embrace change in the face of a transforming labor market has made WBOs better equipped to address workforce challenges. Fewer WBOs (30%) than MBOs (43%) had difficulty hiring new staff and when faced with shortages, more women (49%) than men (33%) were willing to step in themselves to fill open positions. hours to cover. This willingness to support employees is also reflected in McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace 2022. According to the report, compared to men at their level, female leaders do more to support employee well-being and promote diversity, equality and inclusion – work that dramatically improves retention and employee satisfaction, but is not formally rewarded in most companies. For women who own a business, employee well-being is their reward in itself.
And the research result that I am really enthusiastic about? For the first time, we have evidence of increased financial confidence among WBOs: they are twice as likely as men to say they are considering a new loan or line of credit to support business growth. They also invest excess money instead of storing it, confidently raising prices as soon as the economy allows.
Women-owned businesses currently represent approximately 40% of all small businesses in the US, and women continue to turn to business ownership for a number of reasons – including work flexibility and the chance to build wealth on their own terms. As PNC’s latest research shows, women are not only holding their own as entrepreneurs, but they are also outperforming their male counterparts in creating positive workplaces. Their consistent and growing optimism about the future of their own companies bodes well for the economy as a whole – and hopefully brings us closer to ending the 257-year economic gender gap.