Leadership Roles Opening Up, But Millennial Women Don’t Want Them

Don Tennant

Ah, the irony. Now that the male-dominated corporate world has finally evolved to the point where the value of women in top leadership positions is beginning to be recognized, women in the millennial generation appear to have little interest in attaining those positions.

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According to the results of a recent survey commissioned by Zeno Group, a New York-based global public relations firm, only 15 percent of 1,000 millennial women surveyed said they would want to be the top leader of a large or prominent organization. The survey, which was conducted in May, found that millennial women are simply unwilling to make the personal sacrifices they see as the price for admission to the C-suite. Here are some of the key numbers:

  • 49 percent say the sacrifices women leaders have to make aren’t worth it, and nine in 10 agree that women leaders have to make more sacrifices than their male counterparts.
  • 76 percent of the women surveyed are concerned about their ability to achieve a balance between personal and professional goals.
  • Only 46 percent are willing to sacrifice aspects of their personal life to achieve professional goals.
  • 59 percent of millennial moms agree that the sacrifices women leaders make aren’t worth it, while 40 percent of those without children share that view.
  • Although the survey found that millennial women highly value mentorship, only 60 percent of them have mentors. Women who have a mentor are much more likely to believe they are on track to achieve their professional goal than women who don’t have a mentor (82 percent vs. 60 percent).
  • Millennial moms are six times more likely than other millennial women to say that their career is not that important to them (26 percent vs. 4 percent).
  • 74 percent of working millennial moms say that they’ve had to make personal sacrifices to get ahead, and 52 percent say that the sacrifices that women leaders have to make aren’t worth it.
  • 30 percent of working millennial moms indicate that the inability to balance professional goals with being a parent would hold them back from attaining their ultimate professional role.
  • 22 percent of stay-at-home millennial moms say the inability to afford child care or elder care could potentially keep them from attaining the professional role they ultimately desire.

Zeno Group CEO Barby K. Siegel drew this conclusion:

“The findings send a clear signal that we cannot operate business as usual. We need to think about doing things differently when helping millennial women develop their careers and weigh the sacrifices that may or may not be required. We do not want to risk losing this talented generation of professionals.”

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