Imposter Syndrome Report

Jan 18, 2023
imposter syndrome report

I often see the figure that 70% of people will experience imposter syndrome at some pointing their career. I always wondered where this number came from and also who were the 'other 30%'! In 2022, I carried out some research of my own on imposter syndrome. It showed that a whopping 90% of respondents had experienced imposter syndrome at some point - 45% currently and 45% previously. And I still wonder about the other 10%!

Key findings from imposter syndrome research

  1. Gender: Both men and women experience imposter syndrome. It impacts on women more than men, and it diminishes more over time for men – women feel it more acutely to begin with and for them, it lasts longer. Men reach “peak” imposter syndrome when they first become managers. For women it gets progressively worse the higher they climb.
  2. Job level: It affects people more if they are new to a role, irrespec7ve of the level of that role. In fact, for higher levels, the impact of imposter syndrome is more severe. Women are more likely to experience imposter syndrome than men in the executive/ C-suite level.
  3. Triggers: Generally imposter syndrome is triggered by a change. The top triggers according to this survey are: changing jobs; starting in a new company; getting a promotion. Other triggers are: returning to work after a period of absence (like maternity leave); managing for the first time; taking on a big project; working with a new client.

  4. Impact: Employees described themselves as “anxious” “stressed” and “inadequate” while self-employed people used words like “small” and “insecure”. Overworking, procrastination, withdrawal and defensiveness were common themes throughout the study. Burnout was also mentioned a lot. Other impacts include people underperforming, comparing themselves unfavourably to others, feeling like they don’t belong.

  5. Money: 83% of respondents have been negatively financially impacted by imposter syndrome. People don’t ask for more money, or they accept less money than they deserve. This can lead to feelings of disgruntlement or people leaving roles in search of better pay.

The 20-page report also covers:

➡️ Common symptoms and triggers of imposter syndrome

➡️ Procrastination as the biggest impact of imposter syndrome

➡️ The impact of Covid-19 on imposter syndrome

➡️ The link between imposter syndrome and burnout

You can also listen to these findings on the Happier at Work® podcast:


How much is imposter syndrome costing you/ your business?

Something else to consider is estimating how much imposter syndrome could actually be costing you personally or your business. One respondent estimated it was costing €12k per year, just for them! Multiply that by at least 50% of your staff, and you’ll come close to the real cost.

When people have imposter syndrome, they

👉 Are at a higher risk of burnout through overwork

👉 Are less likely to speak up/ share their ideas

👉 Procrastinate on decision-making and leave things til the last minute which impacts on performance

👉 Still experience it as they progress through the organisation, even at senior levels
You can listen to the full episode of my podcast covering the report here:

Download the free report here: 

Take the quiz

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