More than two-thirds of Gen Y men expect that women will lead change in the world. What does this mean for your company?
As members of the Millennial generation--also called Gen Y, and made up of people about 30 years old and younger--begin to move up the management ranks, business owners should prepare for seismic shifts in the expectations of their workforce, particularly when it comes to interaction between men and women. In fact, a recent study by the global marketing agency Euro RSCG Worldwide indicates that Baby Boomers' notions of success, leadership and fairness are rapidly being replaced in the workplace. Here's a look at the major trends:
There's growing respect for women as leaders and agents of change. Most Millennial women--and a significant number of men--expect that women will lead change in the world. Subsequently, female executives may find themselves expending less energy "winning over" subordinates, but they may also feel pressure to live up to higher, possibly even unreasonable, expectations.
Work-life balance continues to gain importance. In a separate Euro RSCG study, when choosing a new job, young workers were slightly more likely to give the highest priority to work-life balance (34%) over salary (31%), and the preference was somewhat more pronounced in women than men. This corresponds to an increasing emphasis on children and family time. Managers would do well not to confuse these priorities with laziness, as the vast majority of Millennials still believe that success depends on hard work and self confidence. Developing and effectively executing workplace flexibility programs will be critical to retaining these employees, and you might even consider diverting resources from payroll to set up flexibility programs.
The "war of the sexes" is over, but inequality remains. While Millennial women feel that gender barriers remain, they aren't generally interested in uniting to tear them down. In fact, because women are acknowledged as men's equals by this generation, Millennials place greater emphasis on individual responsibility than on group action. By putting policies in place to ensure that career advancement is based on objective performance evaluation, managers can help level the playing field for all.
The Millennial generation is poised to make dramatic and positive changes in the workplace and the world at large, returning a sense of balance between work and life while expecting full equality between the genders. Facilitating these trends with common-sense policies will benefit employer and employees alike.
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