Millennial Hiring Part 5: Hiring Gen Y Women

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We have already visited a few different topics on Millennial hiring – job hopping, money  matters, what to keep in mind, and what to avoid. Focusing on a specific subset, we will examine the differences in hiring Millennial women and their impact on the workforce.

According to Women Powering Business, the latest U.S. Census shows a total of 60 million Millennials in the United States alone, half of which are women. This accounts for those born between 1982 and 1994 specifically. By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce and over half of them will be women.

Also consider that year to year, more women enter the workforce, whether out of need to help with household finances in today’s economy, or more likely, due to the increasing desire of women to have a career rather than stay home and raise a family. This dedication and ambition, more prevalent than in previous generations, make Gen Y women power players in this new workforce.

How can employers attract and retain Millennial women?

Step one should be equal pay. Market Watch cited a report released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which concluded that women aged 25 to 34 are more educated than their male counterparts (36% of women with at least a Bachelor’s Degree compared to 28% of males). However, a related report showed that women with Bachelor’s Degrees make an average of $50,000 a year – the same as the average earnings for a male who has earned just an associates degree. This also comes at a time when women are the primary providers in 40% of U.S. households with children.

It shouldn’t be surprising then that in a recent Forbes article, the number one reason Millennial women leave organizations is due to pay. The other major factors are access to learning and development opportunities and access to meaningful work. With the need for Millennial women in organizations being an inevitability within the next 10 years, how can employers plan to keep females engaged and retained?

Forbes looks to the International Consortium for Executive Development Research for some insight. It should be noted that these are great suggestions on how to retain all employees, not just females:

ICEDR suggests to:

Focus on engagement. Pay special attention to the passion and interests of the employee. Find ways to bring outside interests into the workplace or offer flexibility in order to help employees pursue interests and keep them motivated.

Challenge them. Provide opportunities to learn and grow, not just in areas that the organization feels are beneficial, but that the employee will deem important as well. Communicate the need and the reward for continued development and how this will affect their career path.

Keep them connected. Networking inside and outside of the organization will help employees feel they are part of a community and keep them engaged.

Inspire. Who doesn’t want to feel like they have a purpose? Keep the focus on the goals and mission of the organization and how the employee fits into that overall plan. Feeling like they are a piece of the puzzle that makes the organization successful will help employees to remain engaged and productive.

Help them lead. Provide enough autonomy that employees can “take risks, lead initiatives, experiment, and innovate”.

Switching up strategies for hiring and retention now will help employers solidify long-term hires for the future and the ability to attract new talent. Millennials are a different breed, yet they want a lot of the same things that other generations want. The argument could also be made that it isn’t so much a generational difference as it is simply that they are young.

Traci Kingery, PHR is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in immigration and talent management. When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.

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