New research finds that Millennial women, surprisingly, have little interest or desire to assume a top leadership position.

Here at the TechJournal we’ve seen a lot of reports looking at the digital habits, the work preferences, and the general attitudes of millennials, but this is something different. We suspect it may be partly due to their young age and may change as they progress through their careers.

A recent survey commissioned by Zeno Group, the award-winning global public relations firm, finds that only fifteen percent of 1,000 Millennial women said they would want to be the number one leader of a large or prominent organization.  Of these women, 92% are confident they are on the right track to attain that role and two-thirds (66%) think it will take them less than six years to do so.

A prominent theme emerging from the research is the extent to which millennial women are unwilling to make the personal sacrifices they believe are inextricably linked to their ability to climb the corporate ladder.

  • Forty-nine percent say the sacrifices women leaders have to make aren’t worth it, and nine in ten agree that women leaders have to make more sacrifices than their male counterparts
  • More than three-quarters of women surveyed (76%) are concerned about their ability to achieve a balance between personal and professional goals
  • Less than half of the women (46%) are willing to sacrifice aspects of their personal life to achieve professional goals
  • Diving deeper into the data, a strong majority (59%) of millennial moms agree that the sacrifices women leaders make are not worth it in contrast to 40% of those without children share that point of view

Is Work a new “four-letter word?”

This new data shows we must get smarter and more creative in the recruiting and retention of top Millennial talent,” said Siegel. “We don’t want W-O-R-K becoming the new four-letter word for this generation.”

The survey also found that Millennial women truly value mentorship.  However, surprisingly, less than 60% of these Millennials 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% vs. 60%).

“The findings send a clear signal that we cannot operate business as usual,” said Barby K. Siegel, CEO of Zeno Group and mother of two teenage daughters. “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.”

Millennial Women with Children vs. Without Children

Not surprisingly, the Zeno survey unveiled different attitudes when comparing millennial women who have children with those who do not:

  • Millennial moms are six times more likely than millennial women without children to say that their career is not that important to them (26% versus 4%)
  • Millennial moms are three times more likely than millennial women without children to say that an inability to balance professional goals with being a parent is what is most likely to keep them from achieving their professional goals (35% vs. 11%)

Stay-at-Home vs. Working Millennial Moms[1]

  • The study also revealed a difference in perspectives between stay-at-home versus working millennial moms, however, both agree that having a family takes a toll on achieving professional goals. Three-quarters of working moms agree that they’ve had to make personal sacrifices to get ahead (74%), but over half say that the sacrifices that women leaders have to make are not worth it (52%).
  • Almost one-third of working moms indicate that the inability to balance professional goals with being a parent would hold them back from attaining their ultimate professional role (30%).
  • Almost one-quarter of stay-at-home moms say that the inability to afford child-care or elder-care (22%) could potentially keep them from attaining the professional role they ultimately desire.

The market research firm Edelman Berland conducted this online survey of 1,000 American women ages 21 to 33 who were graduates of a four year college or university was conducted May 14, 2013 – May 17, 2013.   The margin of error is +/- 3% (at a 95% confidence level). Percentages may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.

For more information, please contact Danny Cohn, [email protected]

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