Young women and their career expectations
The Millennial generation, also known as Gen Y are people born roughly between 1980 and 1995 and make up the youngest members of the workforce.
Millennial women want to balance personal and professional lives and want a job where they can make a difference. They define success as doing meaningful work, while maintaining a balance between their personal and professional lives. They want stable employment that provides financial security, a positive work environment, open and honest communication and feedback with supervisors and opportunities to grow professionally. They want to learn technical skills, and embark on a visible career path fortified by strong values and under firm leadership.
These young women request for a flexible schedule, besides money. They are risk-takers who enjoy working for what they believe in. A large percentage working professionals today have grown up in affluence which the previous generations were not privileged to experience. They also have more direction and more access to information than ever before. Instant gratification is the buzz word even for promotion as job hopping and career change is the new mantra today. And access to new and constantly improving technology like laptops, cell phones and internet helps. Still, many feel that they do not have a clear career path in front of them.
When asked their ultimate career goals, Gen Y’s two most stated goals are starting their own businesses and being considered one of the top people in their field. For some, achieving flexibility with respect to where and when they work is important.
This generation likes to explore new limits in careers, travel the world and lead a more independent life. Productivity does not equate to being tied down to a desk. Many women are shaping a new environment for the workplace including a more laid back dress code and flexible hours.
More women in India are moving into newer ventures. They are unprepared for the drudgery of a desk job and are exploring creative pursuits. The corporate sector has more than 59% women in entry-level jobs yet however, the structured environment there is yet to imbibe the requirement for flexibility that today’s woman demands. Teaching does remain a favorite career option even today as it accommodates most of the top needs of women. Many women have left corporate careers to teach (across primary schools to post graduate colleges).
Women are are also joining social channels in a big way, in a bid to contribute to society. Chhavi Rajawat who broke stereotypes by becoming sarpanch of her village in Rajasthan and Ishita Khanna eco-conservationist at Spiti are few examples.
Bollywood too has taken a cue from millennial women expectations and we have had the stereotyped secretary/teacher/nurse/doctor roles of women in movies changing into newer and exciting ones. For instance, a fresco restoration painter (Love Aaj Kal) or a scuba diving instructor( Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara) or even a secret agent( Ek Tha Tiger) clearly shows Bollywood reflecting the change.
According to studies, women who have progressed beyond high school, however make up only about 6.5% of Indian women of working age (in India this is considered to be between the ages of 15 and 59). India is the worst among the six top Asian economies when it comes to the representation of women in the workforce at junior and middle-level positions. So in terms of the entire women population in our country, millennial women workforce is very low. However, hopefully, winds of change have begun.