The report explores Generation Y women’s career choices and the opportunities and challenges they face in the workplace. This research, based on a national survey conducted in May 2011, disputes many reports in today’s popular literature that Gen Y women do not believe that gender is a problem in today’s workplace. In fact, 77% of respondents said that gender is a moderate or severe problem in today’s workplace and almost 50% said that they had observed or experienced gender discrimination.
Key findings included concerns about gender and age discrimination, the desire for a holistic approach to work‐life balance and the fact that Gen Y women do not hold a uniform set of work values.
1. Gen Y women believe Gender Discrimination is Still an Issue in Today’s Workplace. Over 75% of survey participants identified gender as a moderate or severe problem in today’s workplace. The most prevalent forms reported were: stereotyping (63%), unequal compensation (60%), not being treated as an equal (58%), inequality of opportunities (58%), being held to different standards (51%), sexist jokes (38%), and sexual harassment (31%).
2. Gen Y Women Experience a Double Jeopardy ‐Gender and Age. Survey results indicate that gender and age may have a compounding effect. Gen Y women who had experienced gender discrimination were more likely to report generational conflict or discrimination than those who had not. Fifty‐one percent of Gen Y women who observed or experienced gender discrimination also reported generational discrimination. The most common forms of age discrimination reported were: being perceived as incompetent or inexperienced because of age; name calling such as “kid” and girl”; being passed over for promotions because of age; and being held to different standards because of age.
3. Gen Y Women Want a More Holistic Approach to Work‐Life Balance. Work‐life balance literature often focuses on how workers combine work and family responsibilities. Survey results highlight the need to broaden this focus because: 1) Work‐life balance is equally important to Gen Y women regardless of whether or not they have children; 2) Family is important for Gen Y women without children; and 3) Gen Y women have responsibilities outside of work and home.
4. Gen Y Women Hold Disparate Career Values. Gen Y women, as a cohort, did not uniformly report a set of work values. Responses were mediated by various dimensions of difference: occupation, employer type and presence of children. Gen Y women represent a heterogeneity of goals associated with their work life.