In Bank of America’s latest Women Business Owner Spotlight study, women entrepreneurs remain optimistic about the economy — although there is some caution in regard to hiring.

Sharon Miller, managing director and head of small business at Bank of America, said according to this year’s report, “the rules of business are changing, and women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of the transformation. A majority believe that over the next 20 years, women will achieve pay equity with men and will match or exceed them in executive leadership or c-suite roles, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field representation and small business ownership.”

The survey involved over 1,000 participants. Regarding the next 12 months, 54 percent of respondents said they expect to see an increase in revenue. And 60 percent said they expect to grow their business in the next five years. But only 19 percent said they plan on hiring in the next year.

Regarding the economy, 45 percent of those surveyed said they expect their local economy to improve in the next 12 months while 44 percent expected the national economy to improve. Thirty-two percent said they expect the global economy to improve over the next year.

Miller noted that “women small business owners [also] foresee a growing trend of support for women starting families, predicting that more states will adopt paid maternity leave policies within the next two decades.”

Researchers of the report also noted while many women entrepreneurs “experience stress and long hours” a large majority “actually feel they have a good balance between their work and home lives. They’re also really enjoying their work, primarily describing their average week as interesting, fulfilling and enjoyable.”

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