BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Gen Y Women: Does this sound like you?

Posted by knbarrett on April 26, 2011

Over the last year, we have benefited from and appreciated expressions of interest by Gen Y women in BPW Foundation’s Young Careerist Research Project. Thank you to everyone who has provided us with information and feedback. The result of our last round of research is the new BPW Foundation publication – “Gen Y Women in the Workplace.”

The report summarizes key findings from a series of employer-based focus groups conducted with Gen Y women and their managers. Through the focus groups, we sought to move beyond stereotypes on Gen Y and better understand your workplace needs and priorities.

We know that our sample was limited and may not reflect the broader population of Gen Y women. So, here is your chance to tell us what we got right and what we got wrong. Here are the top 20 characteristics of Gen Y women based on our report. Does this sound like you?

Gen Y Women : Top 20 Characteristics

1. You’re tired of the “live to work/work to live” debate. You have one life and work is an integral part of that life.

2. You assume that work does not have to be drudgery. In fact, you expect to enjoy your work.

3. You believe that having a successful career means making an impact.

4. You don’t want to have to forfeit or neglect other areas of your life (e.g. family, friends, hobbies, volunteering, spirituality, etc.) to excel professionally.

5. You’re looking less for a particular work-life policy or program and more for an overhaul of the workplace structure – today’s workplace should match today’s workforce!

6. You feel that work-life programs and policies are often limited to women with children.

7. You feel that existing work-life programs and tools do not necessarily provide an enabling environment for women with children.

8. You value self-direction, results-orientation, and advancement opportunities.

9. You are driven more by intrinsic rewards (sense of satisfaction) than by extrinsic rewards (money).

10. You are able to do your best at work when you: know what’s expected of you, have autonomy over your work, receive frequent performance feedback, have open communication channels with your manager and co-workers, know that your voice is heard, and receive competitive compensation.

11. You’ve observed generational differences at work but don’t believe that they are insurmountable.

12. You often feel that your actions and decisions are doubly judged. Not only are you young, but you are a young woman.

13. You appreciated older colleagues for their: professional experience, institutional knowledge, and broader perspective.

14. You feel that Gen Y women can teach older colleagues how to be: flexible, open to new ideas, and embrace change.

15. You don’t always know how to capitalize on the experiences and knowledge of older colleagues.

16.  You are optimistic about your workplace prospects, but don’t consider the workplace to be gender neutral.

17. You believe that you can do anything, but it doesn’t mean you won’t have to overcome some hurdles because you are a woman.

18. You experience performance pressure in the workplace. If you want to gain recognition, you feel you have to be a “rock star.”

19. You are frustrated and worried that you may have to choose between work and family in the future.

20. You feel that women have been welcomed into the workplace, but the structure and rules haven’t changed to facilitate their success in the workplace.

So. . . how did we do? Of the 20, how many did we get right? Let us know. Leave a comment or email youngcareerist@bpwfoundation.org.

We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface on workplace issues of importance to Gen Y women. That’s why we want to corroborate and build upon our preliminary findings through a national survey on Gen Y women in the workplace. Stay tuned to learn more about how you can participate!


2 Responses to “Gen Y Women: Does this sound like you?”

  1. joy woodworth said

    I have to say that the list above knows no birthdate ranges. This list is expected by all women regardless of age.

    I would ask as well a nod to those women who came before that made this list possible.

  2. […] Gen Y Women: Does This Sound Like You?, April 26, 2011 […]

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