On Sunday 8 March, International Women’s Day (IWD) will be celebrated worldwide. IWD takes place annually and, for 2015, will revolve around the theme, Make It Happen: Encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women.
Research and media are currently focused on the lack of women in leadership and on corporate boards. But, if we want to achieve sustainable change, we must shift the discussion and commit to two parallel efforts: tackling enhanced leadership diversity along with driving change in the workforce.
With female millennials making up an ever larger part of the global talent pool, diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies must account for this talent population. This week, we launched The female millennial: A new era of female talent. This report shares the findings of a global survey conducted with over 8,700 millennial women in 75 countries.
Our research confirms that female millennials (women born between 1980 and 1995) are entering the workforce in much higher numbers than any of their previous generations. They’re a highly educated and much more financially empowered generation: 86% of female millennials are part of a dual-career couple, and 66% of millennial women who are part of a dual-career couple, earn equal to, or more than, their partner or spouse.
But this isn’t the only thing that’s changed. These women also enter the workforce with a different career mindset. They’re more career-confident and ambitious than previous generations. They rank opportunities for career progression as the most attractive employer trait, and are most likely to have left a former employer due to a lack of such opportunities.
This year, the results of PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey reveal that D&I is high on the talent agendas of organisations worldwide, with 64% of CEOs stating they have a formal D&I strategy in place, and 13% planning to adopt one over the next 12 months. Furthermore, 90% of CEOs that have a formal D&I strategy in place say it’s enhanced their ability to attract talent, while 85% say it’s enhanced business performance.
Meanwhile, our millennial research tells us that 71% of female millennials (up 17% since we last asked millennials this question in 2011) believe that, while organisations talk about diversity, they don’t feel opportunities are really equal for all. Saying the right things on the topic of gender diversity will no longer suffice; female millennials want to see visible action from their employers.
CEOs need to move beyond soft D&I programmes and commit to inclusive talent and advancement strategies that demonstrate visible results - and that tap into the confidence and ambition of the female millennial.
- D&I on the leadership agenda: I’ve appointed a Global D&I Leader, who reports directly to me. In addition, D&I updates are a regular feature on the agendas of our leadership meetings.
- Leadership accountability for diversity and an inclusive culture: We’re looking at a number of measures (quantitative and qualitative) to make sure our firms are making tangible progress.
- Driving awareness: At every opportunity I talk about how diversity is critical to the sustainability of our business and sponsor efforts to support that message. For example, during our latest annual Global Diversity Week campaign, we focused on building our people’s awareness of the business case for diversity and provided them with tools to help them become even more inclusive PwC professionals.
- Engaging men on the topic of gender diversity: The achievement of gender equality requires an inclusive approach that recognises the crucial role of men as partners for women’s rights. I’m proud of our role as one of the founding partners of the UN IMPACT 10x10x10 HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality - an effort focused on engaging men and boys in removing the social and cultural barriers that prevent women and girls from achieving their potential.
Remember, when talent rises to the top, everyone wins.
Find out more at www.pwc.com/femalemillennial
Dennis Nally leads the global network of PwC firms. He has extensive experience serving large multinational clients in a variety of industries, principally focusing on technology and life sciences. Dennis is also a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on issues affecting the professional services profession and the global capital markets. Read Dennis Nally's full biography.