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Millennial women: Lacking ambition or different priorities?

June 27, 2013

According to a recent story by Emma Grey that ran on The Huffington Post, “Millennial women may be saying ‘no’ to the prospect of having high-powered jobs later on….

“The research, conducted by PR firm Zeno Group, found that only 15 percent of women between the ages of 21 and 33 have the desire to lead a ‘large or prominent organization.’ The reason? They aren’t willing to make the personal compromises that they perceive female leaders are being forced to make…

“…The findings indicate that young women are acutely aware of the individual stress female leaders face as well as the institutional barriers that women who are trying to get to the top grapple with. And instead of trying to claw their way up the ladder, many young women are choosing to opt out of–or at least change–the process.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

“Millennials are often unfairly stereotyped as ‘lazy’ and ‘entitled,’ writes Abri Brickner, Director of Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute. “And it’s perhaps because I’m a millennial myself that I’m taken aback by the vast difference between generations and skeptical about the stereotypes placed on me and my peers. But it wasn’t until I recently read The Huffington Post story quoted above that I paused to consider: ‘Could the stereotype be true? Is it possible that millennial women are actually lazier and more entitled than those who have come before us?’

‘The story goes on to say that the reason female millennials are opting out is because of their unwillingness to make personal sacrifices needed to climb the corporate ladder. It’s not about being lazy or having the fortitude to step into roles of leadership, it’s actually more about the priorities where millennials choose to spend their time. The millennial women I know are choosing to work at organizations that give them the flexibility they need to experience quality of life both inside and outside the office as well as a place where they can connect to the larger mission and values of the company.

“There are more women in the workplace today than there ever were before. And more women than men graduate from college. So, the question is: how can organizations keep their millennial women engaged? Here are three suggestions:

1. Get flexible-Provide flexible work environments that allow for both men and women to spend time as they choose–whether that means being with their families, training for a marathon, or just watching their favorite TV show.
2. Get rid of the chutes and ladders-Develop multiple paths and options to get to leadership roles. It’s less about the corporate ladder and more about the matrix.
3. Make meaning-Ensure that your employees can see the value in your organization and how it connects to helping society at large. Millennials are looking for meaningful work that can contribute to the greater good.”

What is your organization doing to grow, develop, and retain your millennial leaders?

More about Abri
Abri Brickner is the Director of Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute and an Associate Consultant at Linkage. As a practitioner, researcher, and facilitator, she works with organizations across a number of industries to create innovative strategies that accelerate high-potential female leaders. Follow her on Twitter @AbriBrickner.


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Women in Leadership Institute

NOV. 13–16, 2023 | Orlando, Florida, or Virtual
A 4-day immersive learning experience designed to equip women leaders with actionable strategies to overcome the hurdles women often face in the workplace.

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