Increasing the proportion of women in leadership roles is moving up the corporate agenda. This is not only good for increasing workplace equality, but it’s good for business too. But it’s not enough to just focus on quotas for female board representation and management positions. For companies to truly benefit from a more diverse workforce, they need to look to the future generation of female leaders: and that means understanding the millennial generation, usually defined as people born between 1980 and 1995.
Women in this bracket are more educated than generations before, and on average perform better academically than their male peers. Compared to previous generations, they are having children later, are more career focused and are more ambitious too. But it has also been shown that female millennials are more likely to suffer with anxiety and work stress than their male counterparts , are still subject to discrimination in the workplace and the gender pay gap, and despite evident talent, are less confident than male millennials that they will reach the top of the organisation (71% compared to 49% of career starters) .
It’s clear that this generation of female leaders have a lot to offer, but unless companies fully understand what motivates female millennials, they will not be able to harness this talent. Thanks to the internet and globalisation, millennials have far greater access to information about alternative career paths and job opportunities than previous generations did, and thus are more likely to switch careers or companies than Generation X or Baby Boomers before them. So, millennials know their worth. But they can be loyal too: millennials, and particularly female millennials, seek out companies that share their mission and values, and the main reason cited for why they would leave their current role is lack of opportunity for progression rather than more money or benefits .
So, here are a few starting points that organisations should take note of if they are serious about engaging the next generation of female leaders.Download PDF