• 04-MAR-2015

  • By PwC

Female millennials are the most confident and ambitious of any female generation

The female millennial: A new era of talent

New PwC survey dispels myths about women and work

  • Opportunities for career progression tops the list of most attractive employer traits
  • 49% of female millennials starting their careers believe they can reach the very top levels with their current employer
  • 86% of female millennials in a relationship are part of a dual-career couple, while 66% earn the same as or more than their partner or spouse
  • But almost half say employers are too male biased when it comes to internal promotions
  • And 71% feel that opportunities are not equal for all

To mark International Women’s Day (IWD) on Sunday 8th March 2015, PwC surveyed 8,756 female millennials (women born between 1980-1995) from 75 countries to find out how they feel about the world of work and their career.

The report – The female millennial: A new era of talent – reveals that the female millennial is much more likely to believe she can reach the very top levels with her current employer, particularly those starting their careers (49%).

The female millennial ranks opportunities for career progression as the most attractive employer trait (53%); making her more career confident and ambitious than previous generations. 

Female millennials in Brazil (76%), India (76%) and Portugal (68%) are the most confident, while their peers in Japan (11%), Kazakhstan (18%) and Germany (19%) are the least confident.

Of the female millennials who are in a relationship, 86% are part of a dual career couple, with 42% earning equal salaries to their partner or spouse. And almost a quarter (24%) are the primary earner in their relationship.

When it comes to diversity, 86% of female millennials seek out employers with a strong record on diversity, equality and inclusion – and while they say employers talk about diversity, 71% do not feel opportunities are really equal for all.

What’s more, 43% of female millennials believe employers are too male biased when it comes to promoting employees from within – up 14% since 2011. 

Millennial women in Spain (60%), France (58%) and Ireland (56%) view employers in their country as the most male biased, versus Malaysia (16%) and the Philippines (11%) where female millennials are more optimistic.

Dennis Nally, Chairman of PwC International, says: “Our research shows that when it comes to the female millennial, we really are talking about a new era of female talent. Female millennials are more highly educated and are entering the workforce in larger numbers than any of their previous generations.  But, this is not the only thing that has changed.  They also enter the workforce with a different career mindset.” 

As the experience of a 34-year-old millennial woman with 12 years’ work experience will be very different to that of a 22-year-old millennial woman just starting out in her career, the report looks at the insights and desires of the female millennial by career stage: career starters (female millennials with 0–3 years’ work experience), career developers (4–8 years’ work experience) and career establishers (9 or more years’ work experience).  

Agnès Hussherr, PwC Global Diversity Leader, says: “When it comes to earning power and patterns, female millennials really are trail blazers, with 66% of female millennials in a dual career couple earning as much as or more than their partner or spouse.  The more experienced the female millennial, the more likely she is to be the primary earner in her relationship. Our study found that 31% of female millennials with 9 or more years’ experience are the primary earner in their relationship, compared to 18% of millennial career starters and 24% of career developers.”

“Our research also dispels some significant myths, for example that women leave work to have families,” she adds. “The female millennial was least likely to have left a former employer because she was starting a family, and most likely due to a lack of career opportunities. Employers must commit to inclusive cultures and talent strategies that lean in to the confidence and ambition of the female millennial from day one of their career.”

More highlights of the PwC report include:

  • The millennial generation can be expected to drive unprecedented shifts in organisational culture, with significant demand for work life balance and flexibility from 97% of female and 97% of male millennials.
  • The female millennial expects real time, high quality, future-focused feedback and despite being extremely tech-savvy, prefers critical feedback discussions to take place face-to-face.
  • Female demand for international experience has never been higher with 71% of female millennials wanting to work outside their home country during their career.  Despite this, only 20% of current international assignees are female.
  • Female millennials are least likely to want to work in the Financial Services, Defence and Oil & Gas sectors, solely because of their image and reputation.   
  • When asked why they might leave their current employer, 19% of female millennials said they were starting a family and wanted to spend more time at home, compared to 18% of male millennials – making this the sixth most likely reason women or men would leave their former employers.

In addition, we also release our third Women in Work Index. This index ranks 27 OECD countries on a measure that combines five key indicators of female economic empowerment: the equality of earnings with men; the proportion of women in work, both in absolute terms and relative to men; the female unemployment rate; and the proportion of women in full-time employment (see notes below).

Notes to editors

  1. To find out more about PwC’s IWD activities and to download The female millennial: A new era of talent, visit pwc.com/iwd​. The report is based on a survey of over 10,000 millennials from 75 countries, 8,756 of whom are female. More thoughts on diversity can also be found on PwC's Gender Agenda blog​.
  2. PwC is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion and has a range of programmes in place to make progress on the issue. These include Aspire to Lead: The Women’s Leadership Series, a global forum on women and leadership for students around the world. PwC has also partnered with the UN Women’s HeForShe​ campaign, which aims to mobilise one billion men and boys as advocates and agents of change in ending the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally.
  3. To read more PwC research on the Millennials, take a look at Next Generation Diversity: Developing tomorrow's female leaders​; Millennials at work​; and PwC's NextGen: A global generational study​.
  4. We just published the latest results for the PwC Women in Work Index, which show that the Nordic countries lead the Index, with Norway maintaining pole position, followed by Denmark and Sweden. The Women in Work Index (WWI) is a weighted average of five key measures that reflect female economic empowerment using data from the OECD and national statistical offices:

    > The gender wage gap (25% weight)
    > Female labour force participation rate (25% weight)
    > The gap between female and male labour force participation rates (20% weight)
    > The female unemployment rate (20% weight)
    > The proportion of female employees who are in full-time employment (10% weight).

    To access a full report that provides further detail of the methodology and results, including trends in individual indicators visit: Women in work index
  5. PwC helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 195,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com​.

    PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure​ for further details.

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