As part of International Women’s Day, Accenture published the results of a survey about the Next Generation of the Working Woman, which they define to be those who were born in the late 1970’s to early 1990’s. They surveyed 3100 business executives across 31 different countries, split evenly between men/women, as well as evenly among baby boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y (the ‘next’ generation that I’m part of).
The major findings included that over half of the people are dissatisfied with their current jobs, but that over 2/3 had no plans to leave, with an equivalent number citing flexible work arrangements as the reason to stay. I think it’s fantastic that so many people are taking advantage of and using flexible work arrangements, though I wonder how the results would change as you get lower in the organization, to individuals that may not be as empowered to demand flexibility. I also suspect that with several years of stagnation in raises and promotions, companies became open to rewarding individuals with flexibility.
Another set of questions were related to career growth, and the reason for stagnation in career growth. The downturn of the economy was cited by 44% of respondents as a source of stagnation, while 40% stated that their growth had slowed since becoming a parent. This data was then further broken out by gender, with 46% of women and 35% of men stating that becoming a parent had impacted their career growth. Though the survey was labeled as being about the ‘next generation’, I didn’t see much about differences in the three defined generations.
Just today I was speaking to a friend who had worked on Wall St, but when coming back from maternity leave was given two type of job options – positions that were boring and clearly under her capabilities, and ones that would require 60 hour workweeks, which she wasn’t willing to do anymore. She elected to go out on her own, and is working a part-time financial job for a small organization from her home. I understand companies not needing to give or worry about flexibility when they have a large number of qualified workers, but there is a working population that continues to be under utilized. This not only hurts immediate productivity, but is really damaging in the long-run, when it’s almost impossible to rejoin the workforce due to years of being disconnected and out of practice. How can we get companies today to understand the value of using this workforce right now?