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Millennial Women and Workplace Transformation: A PreparedU Infographic Storybook


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Bentley University's PreparedU Project examines the unique challenges and opportunities facing millennial women in the 21st Century workforce. How can they be prepared for success? What roles do parents, companies, mentors, higher education institutions, and millennial women themselves need to play? Drawing on the results of the PreparedU survey, this infographic storybook moves past the problems to highlight solutions grounded in data and in the personal stories of women leaders at all stages of their careers. Learn more at and follow the conversation on Twitter with #PrepUWIB.

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Millennial Women and Workplace Transformation: A PreparedU Infographic Storybook

  1. 1. An Infographic Storybook on Millennial Women and Workforce Transformation
  2. 2. SHARE chart/graphic College and university enrollment among young women has risen steadily over the past decade. As more female graduates enter the workforce, how can we help them achieve long-term career success? In January 2014, Bentley University released the Bentley Preparedness Survey, conducted by KRC Research, to explore the preparedness gap that millennials face in today’s workforce. A key area covered in the survey is the perception of career preparedness and advancement of women in the workplace compared to men. Based on this research and third-party data, Bentley University has uncovered core challenges, realities and perceptions that millennial women encounter upon entering the workplace.This report also identifies solutions for further advancing the role of women in business. Included are real-world insights from CEOs, public figures, corporate recruiters and millennial women. OVERVIEW
  3. 3. SHARE of women hold senior management positions.1 The average woman working full time in America makes just 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.4 “ 2014, that’s an embarrassment.” President Barack Obama, April 2014 Read more on Equal Pay Day and the President’s Executive Orders to prevent workplace discrimination The struggle for gender equality in the workplace continues into the 21st century. 26% 4.2% of Fortune 500 companies were run by female CEOs.2 In 2013 only and 10% of Fortune 500 companies had zero women on their board.3
  4. 4. SHARE Over three-quarters of male business decision-makers believe men are better suited to succeed in the business climate today. Perceptions surrounding gender in the workplace illustrate a deep- rooted bias. Are these perceptions contributing to an “ambition gap”? As documented in The Confidence Gap, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, research shows that women underestimate their abilities and performance compared to men, even when performance quality is the same. Even female business decision-makers doubt their own cohort: only 4 in 10 say they are better suited. Even among young women and men, the gender bias persists within the next generation. The majority of millennials feel that men are better suited to succeed in today’s business climate. Men 75% vs. Women 62% Read The Atlantic feature on The Confidence Gap
  5. 5. SHARE Change is happening. Workforce readiness among women is high and the wage gap is narrowing, but very slowly. More than 8 in 10 business leaders grade women higher than men on two competencies important to success in business: organization and communication/ interpersonal skills. 59% of Americans, including 61% of corporate recruiters and 51% of business decision-makers, believe that women are better prepared for success in their first job. 1979 2011 82% 62% Over 32 years, an increase of 20% is not enough. As of 2011, women working full time still earn just 82% of what men earn.5 earning parity
  6. 6. SHARE Americans believe that women are more prepared for entry- level positions due to their skills, but when it comes to who is better prepared for their entire career, men are given the upper hand. A perceptual disconnect has emerged. Among business decision-makers and corporate recruiters, the perception that men are better prepared for long-term career success is deeply entrenched. “Men are seen as better prepared for lifelong career success based on general perception rather than concrete evidence.” Gloria Larson, President of Bentley University CAREER PREPAREDNESS Men 53% Women 47% Business Decision-Makers Corporate Recruiters Top reasons cited for women’s and men’s success in their first job WOMEN Work harder 18% Better organization skills 14% More prepared 12% MEN Experienced 12% More men are hired 7% Men are better 6% 39% 61% 46% 54% women men
  8. 8. SHARE of business decision-makers believe this to be true. 53% of millennial men say they’ve been encouraged to go into business. of millennial women say they’ve been encouraged to go into business. say women do not receive enough encouragement to enter the business world. 55% 62% 46% PARENTAL ENCOURAGEMENT My parents always encouraged me to create my own career. By being entrepreneurs themselves, they embodied what it means to make the most of every opportunity.” SHAMA KABANI, on how her parents influenced her to start her own business. For more insight from Shama Kabani, read her Forbes article, “How To Get More Women in Tech and Business” Among those who say not enough women are pursuing degrees in business today... SHAMA KABANI FOUNDER & CEO, MARKETING ZEN GROUP
  9. 9. SHARE of men believe this to be true. of women believe they do not have as many opportunities in business as men. DAVID LUCEY RECRUITING DIRECTOR, EPSILON Ask for what you want, because the worst they can say is no. Go forward with confidence and be upfront with your career goals.” DAVID LUCEY, on advice for millennial women rising in the workplace report an opportunity gap between men and women. OPPORTUNITIES Among millennials who say not enough women are pursuing degrees in business... 46%47% 51% 45% of millennial women report an opportunity gap. of millennial men report an opportunity gap. 51% 39% Among all respondents...
  10. 10. SHARE say that women-specific networking events and women-specific corporate mentorship programs would better prepare women to succeed in business. JILL GUSTARTIS ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT, STATE STREET When you meet with a mentor who is or has been in a place in their career that you strive to be in, it’s a great reminder of what you aspire to be and why.” JILL GUSTARTIS, on inspiring young professionals through mentorship MENTORSHIP of non-millennial women Read more about why taking a broad view of mentorship is important 50% over
  11. 11. SHARE WORK-LIFE BALANCE SUZANNE ROEDER VP, HUMAN RESOURCES, BAIN & COMPANY Companies must create the right environment and platform for talent to succeed – regardless of gender. This includes ‘hardware,’ such as gender parity programs and incentives, combined with ‘software,’ in the form of committed leaders and managers who promote opportunities for constant learning.” SUZANNE ROEDER, on how companies can help advance the role of women in the workplace Respondents were asked whether they believe it is getting easier or getting harder for women to have a successful career and personal life. of women say it’s getting easier to achieve a successful career and personal life. of men say it’s getting easier for women to achieve a successful career and personal life.59% 50% of CORPORATE RECRUITERS are likely to say this. of HIGHER EDUCATION INFLUENTIALS are likely to say this. of respondents say family and other constraints hold women back more than they hold men back. 53% 67% 64%
  12. 12. SHARE The goal of the PreparedU Project is to identify and advance solutions that prepare millennials for success not only in their first job, but throughout their career. There are five principal stakeholders who have a role to play. Parents Policymakers Higher Education Influencers Business Leaders Millennial Women
  13. 13. SHARE Parents should encourage their daughters to explore business careers given the variety of leadership opportunities they present. Business skills are highly transferable and key to longterm success in many fields. SOLUTIONS INFLUENTIAL MOTHER OF JILL GUSTARTIS, ASSISTANT VP, STATE STREETSUE GUSTARTIS ROLE OF PARENTS “ SUE GUSTARTIS, on encouraging her daughter’s career aspirations Business-related fields are extremely broad and every career has some form of business associated with it. Jill developed good study habits early on from my nagging. It makes for a stronger, well- rounded person. Everyone can benefit from encouragement—no matter the age.”
  14. 14. SHARE Public policy initiatives that open the door for women in leadership are pivotal. The Massachusetts Women’s Leadership Fellowship is a prime example of an initiative designed to expand access to leadership opportunities for women. In March 2014, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business (CWB) partnered to launch the fellowship. “ SOLUTIONS PUBLIC POLICY MASS. SECRETARY OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENTRACHEL KAPRIELIAN This is a model that gives highly educated, highly motivated women leaders a real shot at making policy changes and strategic decisions that get results.” RACHEL KAPRIELIAN, on how the Massachusetts Women's Leadership Fellowship can be a model for change Learn more about the Massachusetts Women’s Leadership Fellowship
  15. 15. SHARE Although data show that women are seen as adequately prepared by higher education, colleges and universities can take an active role in helping women prepare for long-term success. Universities should encourage gender studies courses and workplace training programs for men and women to arm millennials with the broad perspectives and skills necessary to succeed. SOLUTIONS PROFESSOR OF MANAGEMENT & SENIOR DIRECTOR, BENTLEY UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR WOMEN AND BUSINESSSUSAN ADAMS HIGHER EDUCATION “ Provide realistic previews of the workplace in courses, internship experiences and extra- curricular programming, so women are ready to meet challenges that require attitude development, specific skills and business acumen.” SUSAN ADAMS, on what colleges and universities can do to help Learn more about how gender intelligence provides a competitive advantage
  16. 16. SHARE SOLUTIONS BUSINESS LEADERS PRESIDENT, CEO AND DIRECTOR AT HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURTLINDA ZECHER How can business leaders cultivate workforce transformation that sets women up for success? Strategies include formalized mentorship programs, networking opportunities, competitive pay, female recruitment and flexible work-life policies. “ Opportunity is often the greatest challenge for millennial women. While great strides have been made…businesses need to be more open to new talent and provide emerging female leaders with the opportunities to progress.” LINDA ZECHER, on how employers can offer more opportunity Learn more about how businesses can foster environments for women’s success Tips for nurturing talent with support and direction
  17. 17. SHARE Millennial women should take the initiative and seek out mentorship, but the entire onus should not rest on them. While one-on-one mentoring relationships are important, employers should take a broad view of mentoring. Toni Wolfman, from the Bentley University Center for Women and Business, suggests inviting a group of women in junior- level positions to a casual lunch that encourages informal, open dialogue. SOLUTIONS MILLENNIAL WOMEN CLASS OF 2015, BENTLEY UNIVERSITYANGELA SCOTT “ I want to change the way the business world and society in general views women. I want to prove that this is no longer a man’s world, but a world where we can all thrive and succeed in every aspect of our lives.” ANGELA SCOTT, on transforming perceptions and career prospects Read Toni Wolfman’s article: “Why Professional Women Aren’t Reaching the Top — And 5 Ways Other Women are Changing That”
  18. 18. SHARE TAKE ACTION You’ve read insights and stories from The PreparedU Project on millennial women in the workforce—now add yours. Join the PreparedU Project by tweeting with #PreparedU and visiting SOURCES 1 2 3 4 5