From Gen Y Women to Employers: What They Want in the Workplace and Why it Matters for Business
The report explores Generation Y women’s career choices and the opportunities and challenges they face in the workplace. This research, based on a national survey conducted in May 2011, disputes many reports in today’s popular literature that Gen Y women do not believe that gender is a problem in today’s workplace. In fact, 77% of respondents said that gender is a moderate or severe problem in today’s workplace and almost 50% said that they had observed or experienced gender discrimination.
Key findings included concerns about gender and age discrimination, the desire for a holistic approach to work‐life balance and the fact that Gen Y women do not hold a uniform set of work values.
1. Gen Y women believe Gender Discrimination is Still an Issue in Today’s Workplace. Over 75% of survey participants identified gender as a moderate or severe problem in today’s workplace. The most prevalent forms reported were: stereotyping (63%), unequal compensation (60%), not being treated as an equal (58%), inequality of opportunities (58%), being held to different standards (51%), sexist jokes (38%), and sexual harassment (31%).
2. Gen Y Women Experience a Double Jeopardy ‐Gender and Age. Survey results indicate that gender and age may have a compounding effect. Gen Y women who had experienced gender discrimination were more likely to report generational conflict or discrimination than those who had not. Fifty‐one percent of Gen Y women who observed or experienced gender discrimination also reported generational discrimination. The most common forms of age discrimination reported were: being perceived as incompetent or inexperienced because of age; name calling such as “kid” and girl”; being passed over for promotions because of age; and being held to different standards because of age.
3. Gen Y Women Want a More Holistic Approach to Work‐Life Balance. Work‐life balance literature often focuses on how workers combine work and family responsibilities. Survey results highlight the need to broaden this focus because: 1) Work‐life balance is equally important to Gen Y women regardless of whether or not they have children; 2) Family is important for Gen Y women without children; and 3) Gen Y women have responsibilities outside of work and home.
4. Gen Y Women Hold Disparate Career Values. Gen Y women, as a cohort, did not uniformly report a set of work values. Responses were mediated by various dimensions of difference: occupation, employer type and presence of children. Gen Y women represent a heterogeneity of goals associated with their work life.
What We Do
NCRW is a network of leading university and community based research, policy, and advocacy centers with a growing global reach dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls. We also have a Corporate Circle comprised of senior diversity professionals from leading U.S. and global member companies and a Presidents Circle of college and university leaders who share our commitment. NCRW harnesses the collective power of its network to provide knowledge, analysis, and thought leadership on issues ranging from reducing women’s poverty to building a critical mass of women’s leadership across sectors.