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Women In Comms

Employers Not Inspiring Loyalty in Millennial Women

Milennials are no longer future leaders of industry. They are today's leaders. So, when nearly half of them -- especially women -- say they have one foot out the door at their current employer, it's worth understanding why.

According to Deloitte's 2016 survey of nearly 7,700 Millennials -- those born between 1982 and 1998 -- from 29 countries, not only are Millennials' motivations and priorities different from those of their older colleagues, so is their sense of loyalty to their current employer.

One quarter of respondents said they were likely to leave their current employer in the next year, and 44% said they would within two years. Among the women, 67% said they would leave their employer in the next five years versus 64% of men.

Survey: Deloitte Millennial survey, 2016
Survey: Deloitte Millennial survey, 2016

There could be a number of reasons for this, including the fact that many may have been with their current employers for several years by now, but the report's authors also suggest that ongoing gender bias, or at least gender differences, could play a role as well.

Deloitte found that 21% of Millennial men lead a department or are senior managers versus only 16% of women. It suggests that this is a result of either gender bias or women not seeking out senior roles. Only 21% of women, compared to 27% of men, reported that they felt they had strong leadership skills, suggesting the latter is likely -- that women are often holding themselves back. (See Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table and Cisco's Kanouff Says the ‘Door is Open' for Women in Comms.)

At the same time, 48% of women indicated they felt they are "being overlooked for potential leadership positions," suggesting bias abounds as well. (See Tales From the Valley: Bias, Sexism & Worse and McKinsey: Women Less Likely to Advance at Work.)

For men and women combined, both indicated that they thought their "leadership skills are not being fully developed" and that their current employers are not making "full use" of the skills they currently have to offer.


Light Reading is hosting its first Women in Comms networking breakfast of 2016 ahead of the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies show in Denver on March 10. Register here to join us as we discuss how to build your brand!


Milennials, as a whole, also indicated different values than older generations. Rather than focus solely on the paycheck, things like the company culture, work-life balance, social responsibility and ethics mattered most. Their own personal values were of utmost importance.

Here again, men and women tended to differ in their responses somewhat, with women placing more importance on the company culture and men caring more about products and performance. (See Championing Change: It's a Cultural Thing and What Is Your Company's Gender IQ?)

Considering that Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, understanding what drives them and how to retain them -- both men and especially women, who are more prone to leave -- is critically important. (See Vodafone's Doberneck: Put Policies Into Practice to Retain Women.)

Deloitte points out that 70% believe their employers share their personal values, which is a great start. It also suggests that, in order to keep Millennials around, these companies focus on encouraging mentorship, have purpose beyond profit, provide development opportunities, create the "perfect" job environment and help Millennials feel in control of their careers.

— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

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mendyk 2/1/2016 | 2:03:22 PM
Re: Factor of age The weird part of all this is that we have had a couple hundred years to figure out industrial era and post-industrial era employer/employee relationships, and we haven't made much progress. But we can turn little cardboard boxes into virtual-reality devices and bigger cardboard boxes into makeshift shelters. Oh, and we can watch Gilligan's Island wherever and whenever we want.
Duh! 2/1/2016 | 1:49:40 PM
Re: Factor of age Mendyk raises an important point.

Loyalty is a two-way street.  Many of us boomers experienced that, in the years before (short-term) "shareholder value" became paramount. There was a social contract - partly explicit, partly implicit. "If you stick with us for 10 years, and get good reviews - work hard and play by the rules - we'll always have a place for you. You'll have an opportunity to grow to meet your full potential." What they got in return was low churn and productivity. 

When I was at one of these once-great companies, the feeling wasn't love: it was identity and pride and belonging. Even when I wasn't happy with my management or what I was doing at the time.  When all went out the window,  the company went into a down-hill slide.

Not coincidentally, at about the same time, the American middle class went into a down-hill slide.
Presiden69452 1/28/2016 | 10:40:06 AM
Re: Factor of age I agree loyality is an interesting concept that I don't think really exists anymore - from the employer or the employee. I think I provide a good workplace environment for my employees where they can learn their craft and become better informed, more productive and learn how to provide value. Whether I benefit from what they eventually become is irrelvant as long as I get value from what they are doing now. But I do see it a commercial relationship. If I stop paying them, they stop coming to work. So my long-term commitment is hedged.
Sarah Thomas 1/28/2016 | 10:34:56 AM
Re: Factor of age Good point, and one I can appreciate as both a Millennial and a journalist.

Loyalty might not be the best word as most are clearly staying or leaving because of other factors, not a sense of loyalty. But doesn't negate the fact there are more employers can do to inspire their employees to stick around for the longhaul -- starting with convincing them the longhaul exists.

 
mendyk 1/28/2016 | 10:29:39 AM
Re: Factor of age "Loyalty" is an interesting concept, and at this point, it's just not applicable to the worker/employer relationship. Most people -- not all, but most -- would be content to work for an organization they didn't "love" if in return they got a sense of long-term stability. The millennials are the first generation that came into the workforce without any hope of long-term stability from employment. Starbucks doesn't count.
Sarah Thomas 1/28/2016 | 10:21:15 AM
Re: Factor of age Gave out gold watches at 30 year anniversaries?

It did used to be more common to stay at one company for most of your career -- or at least at the big companies -- even if loyalty and love of the company wasn't the main driver. 
mendyk 1/28/2016 | 10:18:13 AM
Re: Factor of age What exactly have companies done over the past 20 years to inspire loyalty? I mean, besides almost completely eliminating pension benefits, cutting large swaths of the workforce to placate "investors," and disintermediating significant portions of said workforce from the ranks of the employed.
Sarah Thomas 1/28/2016 | 10:16:26 AM
Re: Factor of age That's true. It'll most likely be both, but I hope the positive aspects of Millennial stereotypes stick around moreso than the negative, which there are certainly both.

As a Millennial myself (barely), I see two different buckets of us -- those who are already leaders or well on their way and worked extremely hard to get there, and those -- probably a bit younger -- who are still "finding themselves" and feel entitled, like this great quote I saw in an article yesterday: "I see the girl who was told how amazing she was who is now resentful at age 25 because she's working in a cubicle for a low wage and she's written two novels and she can't get an agent."

Maybe it's a product of age, how you were raised or just different types of people, in general, but I think there's some truth to the stereotypes.

That is a depressing statistic on living at home, by the way!
Presiden69452 1/28/2016 | 10:05:34 AM
Re: Factor of age True but time will tell if millennials conform or if workplaces adapt. My guess is it will be a blend because as millennials become busienss leaders, with P&L responsibilities and employees to manage and provide work for (including paychecks), their views might change. Did find this recent stat interesting as well when viewed through the lens of millennials views of work expectations - more millennials are living at home now than at any time since 1940 (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/11/record-share-of-young-women-are-living-with-their-parents-relatives./). Maybe the safety net of living at home is giving them a freedom regarding work priorities that other generations didn't feel.
Sarah Thomas 1/28/2016 | 9:48:15 AM
Re: Factor of age While I agree about some of this, including jumping around more, being a factor of age, I do think the Millennial generation is unique -- and Generation Z (if that's what we're calling it!) will be more so. In general, Millennials value things like social responsibility and staying true to themselves and perhaps even flexiblility and work/life balance more so than the older generation. Not only value it, but expect it. The expect a different company culture than their parents worked in.
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