Most execs believe they can 'have it all' -- but with a catch

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By Allison Linn

Most men and women who appear to be successfully climbing the corporate ladder say they can “have it all” — but maybe not all at the same the time.

A new, international survey of managers and executives at big companies finds that about 7 in 10 of the men and women surveyed believe they can have a successful career and family life.

But there is a catch. Half of the executives surveyed on behalf of consulting firm Accenture conceded that although you could have both professional success and a family life, you cannot have it all at the same time.

The online survey of 4,100 executives in 33 countries was conducted in November of 2012. The respondents included professionals such as managers, vice presidents and owners or partners at medium to large organizations. It had a two percentage point margin of error.

The Accenture survey did offer evidence that many are at least striving for a successful work/life balance. When the professionals were asked what they define as career success, the most popular answer was “work/life balance,” with about 56 percent of the vote.

That beat out even “money,” which got 46 percent of the vote. The respondents were allowed to give more than one answer.

In addition, about half said they had turned down or not pursued a job because of concerns about work/life balance.

The survey comes amid a heated debate over whether ambitious, career-minded men and women can balance success at work with success at home.

Former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter sparked a huge debate last year when she argued in The Atlantic that women still can’t have it all, at least in the United States.

More recently, Yahoo Chief Executive — and new mom — Marissa Mayer also created a stir when her company ordered telecommuting workers to start coming into the office. Many argued that such a directive is a major blow to parents who are trying to balance work, family and long commutes.

The debate isn’t just confined to women. These days, many dads also are struggling to "have it all."