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Research Analysis South Africa

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

New PwC survey dispels myths about women and work...

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, according to a report issued today by PwC, titled The female millennial: A new era of talent. To mark International Women's Day (IWD) on Sunday 8 March 2015, PwC surveyed 8,756 millennials (women born between 1980 - 1995) from 75 countries, of which 226 women were from South Africa, to find out how they feel about the world of work and their career.

(Image: Public Domain)
(Image: Public Domain)

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.

A new era of talent
Nana Madikane, PwC Diversity & Inclusion Leader for South Africa, says: "Our research shows that when it comes to the female millennial, we really are talking about a new era of 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."

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.

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 (South Africa: 72%).

And in SA...

South African female millennials are also least likely to want to work in the defence (21%), government and public services (32%), oil & gas (14%), and insurance (15%) sectors because of their image and reputation.

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).

Madikane adds further: "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 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."

Myths dispelled

"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 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 regarding their future career plans and progression in the workplace (South Africa: 88%).
• Female demand for international experience has never been higher with 71% (South Africa: 71%) of female millennials wanting to work outside their home country during their career. Despite this, only 16% of female millennials have completed an international assignment.
• When asked why they might leave their current employer, 19% of female millennials (South Africa:17%) said they were starting a family and wanted to spend more time at home, compared to 18% of male millennials (South Africa: 13% of male millennials) - making this the sixth most likely reason women or men would leave their former employers.

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