The Female Millennial
After discussing the impact of Millennials on talent attraction and retention in my previous post, my exploration led me to encounter a subject that stirred my own personal interest of the female's place in society.
Having spent the majority of my time at university debating, discussing, and delivering presentations on feminism and gender diversity, a year into my first role with Harvey Nash HR, I thought it was probably about time that I put a laser focus onto the female cohort of my generation in the workplace.
Having grown up with an affinity for a highly globalised and digital world, the millennial generation has far more egalitarian views about the roles of women. Globally, the female millennial is achieving a higher proportion of tertiary degrees than her male equivalent, and as a result is entering the workforce in more momentous magnitudes than any previous generation. Despite all of this, it would be an error to accept that Millennials consider gender diversity as passé.
The female millennial represents a new era of talent. She is not only entering a workforce that looks different to the workforce her mother and grandmother may, or may not, have entered - she is entering it with a completely different ethos... As the first generation to benefit from the internet, along with the saturating stance of social media - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have encouraged women to connect with the wider world as they grow up.
They have had more casual, (albeit relentless), exposure to multi-culturalism than any previous generation, and as a result draw their own inspiration and ideals from a much more diverse group. Highly educated, headstrong and more career focussed than any of her previous generations the female millennial is in it for the long run.
Estimated to form approximately 25% of the global workforce by 2020, developing retention strategies tailored for this talent segment will be a vital step to the sustainability of any organisation. If employers are to be successful in capitalising on the strengths of this current and future talent pool, then without doubt they must address the gender leadership gap that has permeated previous generations.
Organisations must drive parallel efforts that tackle enhanced leadership diversity in conjunction with efforts that develop junior talented women now, for future leadership roles.
Therefore the archaic views established on the premise that it is easier to develop and move men than women must be crushed; which brings me nicely onto the elephant in the room, motherhood. When an employee comes in with 'some news', that she's pregnant and the baby is due in 'just 5 months!', cue delighted cries from colleagues and even her boss.
Yet, masked beneath these elated squeals most employers cannot help but wonder how the business is going to cope without her. Having children later seems to be a common trait amongst Millennial women, yet this still requires a lengthy break from the office, so will there ever be a solution to usher this elephant out of the back door? If you want to retain the best female talent, then yes, there has to be; the current ballgame has to change.
Gender diversity is without doubt front of mind and considered a precarious business challenge by the female millennial. However, we must not forget it is important to men, too, and men have much to gain from women's empowerment.
PWC's recent report that looks at 'The Female Millennial' on a global level, tells us that seventy-four percent of male millennials said an employer's policy on equality, diversity and inclusion was important to them when deciding whether to work for an employer.
For the first time in history, we have four generations working side-by-side in today's job market, due in part to an aging workforce and a sluggish economy that is forcing the working population to put off retirement. As a result, we have bred a fusion of generations, including Mature workers, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials.
The collaboration of these four generations are crucial to driving companies forward, so when it comes to retaining the best talent, male or female, the status quo will no longer suffice.