Millennial women are challenging the definition of ambition

 As Steve Earl is on holiday this week, I’ve been invited to post as a guest.

Emma Barnett did an interesting piece for her column last week in response to Maria Miller’s taskforce to tackle the lack of women in senior management positions. She concludes it’s about making leadership appealing to women and showing you don’t need to commit every second of your life to your career in order to reach the top.

Zeno Group announced some research yesterday into the attitudes of Millennial women in the workplace. It finds that Millennial women have little interest or desire to assume a top leadership position with only fifteen percent of 1,000 Millennial women saying they would want to be the number one leader of a large or prominent organisation. The reason given by nearly 50 percent is that too much personal sacrifice is at stake.

The research shows that this generation seems to be challenging the very definition of what ambition is. Blazing new trails is not for everyone and what people most care about is doing great, rewarding and interesting work but not about leading others. It seems that Millennial women can lead but are unsure of whether they should lead. In other words, capability is not the issue – fear of judgment for “doing it all” and even greater fear of failure at one or more aspects of life can be an enormous barrier for today’s Millennial women. All we can do is keep pushing for change and encourage career development that fosters balance, confidence and overall well-being. Although the research focuses on women in the workplace, last week Business Week ran a headline that men need family time too so perhaps work/ life balance in general is the wider business trend here.

Our company promotes ‘fearless’ in its culture. Fearless, not in a rampaging bull kind of way but in a way that encourages us to take charge of our careers and make it work for ourselves, too. Adopting flexible working practices plays a huge part in enabling that to happen.

Sasha Manners, Zeno Group


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