• Organizational

Millennial Women in the Workplace

How the attitudes and aspirations of young women will affect organizations and their leadership


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A high proportion of millennials, defined as those ages 18-34 in 2015, entering the workplace are women. How are the attitudes and aspirations of these young women different from their predecessors and how will this affect the way we work and the future leadership of organizations?

The millennial generation comes to work with many positives attributes – earnest, educated high achievers, with a strong desire to contribute to society – but with a reputation for being entitled, fragile and vulnerable to derailment.

In this optimistic interview Andrea Hershatter, Senior Associate Dean and Director of the BBA Program in Emory's Goizueta Business School, considers all millennials and highlights some specific characteristics millennial generation women bring to the workplace and offer as future leaders.

Currently, over 50% of US college graduate are women yet fewer than 20% of S&P 500 board members are women with only 4.4% of CEOs being female according to Catalyst’s 2016 report. A similar position exists on the UK, Germany and France. Will the coming generation accept this gender imbalance or change it?

Hershatter's core message is that the millennial female generation, the heir to girl-power, and the first to see significant numbers of women in high profile business and political roles, never saw itself as in any way the weaker sex and so has no need to feel it has something to prove. It has consequently not felt the need of previous generations to emulate male leadership styles – so women millennials remained true to themselves and authentic as leaders.

Women have been well represented as leaders in the academic institutions millennials attended and this experience will influence how young women view their own potential careers. Few millennials of either sex have yet reached the C-suite but when they do we can expect a shift in C-level outlooks and women in particular, who have so far not experienced a ‘ceiling’, are likely to add a specific new dynamic.

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