January 16, 2012

A November article in FORBES Magazine reported an interesting finding about young professional women (“Gen Y” or “Millennials”): a growing number are “burning out” at work before they reach age 30.

This is believed to be a major factor in reports on women in corporate leadership, and the statistics bear it out, as today, McKinsey research reports women hold:
×          53% of entry-level corporate jobs
×          37% of mid-level management jobs
×          26% of vice presidents and senior managers

In fact, continues the report, men are twice as likely to advance at every career transition change than women.  One theory is that men are more likely than women to do things supporting their personal well-being while they are at work.  Men are 25% more likely to take breaks throughout the day for personal activities, 7% more likely to go for a walk, 5% more likely to go out of the office for lunch, and 35% more likely to take breaks “just to relax.”

Why is it that women seem unable to relax?  Women work like crazy in school and college, and are exhausted by the time the get into the workforce, believes Melanie Shreffler of the youth marketing company Ypulse.  “They expected things to be better now that they’ve arrived and made it…instead they are starting over on the bottom rung and still striving.  It’s impossible to see what life will be like in 20 years these days.  (Young women ) don’t know what they are striving for, which makes it really hard to move forward.”

The upside of this issue may be promising, however, as many young professionals are leaping into entrepreneurship - Gen Y is reported to be the most entrepreneurial generation the world has seen, according to the Kauffman Foundation, which notes that 54% of America’s Millennials either want to start a business or have already.  Take a look at this information:  http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/millennials-want-to-start-companies-when-economy-rebounds-poll-says.aspx

For women, entrepreneurship matches the general sentiment of Millennial women worldwide: 96% consider being independent as the most important goal in their lives, and more than 87% define success as having the ability to shape their own future.

The Kauffman Foundation has declared the next ten years as “The Decade of the Woman Entrepreneur,” noting there are challenges to this goal.  “While the numbers of highly educated women who have the potential to start scalable ventures have reached record levels, these women are not pursuing entrepreneurship or being exposed to entrepreneurial possibilities through networking.  (We need to) inspire women to seek advisors, training, and networks that will help them unleash their potential and fundamentally change lives,” according to Kauffman Foundation Vice President, Lesa Mitchell (http://www.kauffman.org/entrepreneurship/the-decade-of-the-woman-entrepreneur.aspx).

Our work at Chrysalis involves just this – bringing women together for inspiration, education, and training.  Our educational programming and Women’s Alliance work offers not only time to meet and share ideas, but also to learn from other women, connect with mentors, and gain motivation for the future.  If you’ve not already registered for our upcoming Chrysalis Conversations Speaker Series, do it now: http://chrysalisconversations2012.eventbrite.com/

Thank you for being a leader in this continuing work.

PS – in case you need updating on “the generations” --