The jobs and careers landscape has transformed dramatically for women in the past few years. There have been huge leaps forward in improving the gender imbalance in business, as well as attempts to address the myriad issues that women face in the workplace.
Businesses, organizations, and institutions across all industries should therefore expect to see a new generation of female leaders. These women will have wildly different demands to those that came before them, shaped by their experiences growing up in these rapidly changing times. So what can we expect these new female leaders to demand?
A culture of feedback
The next wave of female industry captains will largely be from Gen Z. Born mostly in the mid-to-late Nineties, these women are part of a culture that believes personal and professional growth is nurtured through feedback. They are motivated not solely by pay, but by their own development and they impact they can have in the industry and beyond; it is a generation that is motivated, hard-working, driven, and which wants to succeed in their endeavors.
To that end, the next generation of female leaders will expect a culture of feedback in the workplace. Even at a senior level, they will encourage continuous individual evaluation and assessment. This granular approach to development will ensure no-one is left by the wayside in the workplace, and that each woman can grow with the business and their colleagues.
Investment in training
Further to the above, tomorrow’s female leaders will expect greater training opportunities to develop their careers. Again feeding into that generation’s motivation to succeed, they want to know they will be not just supported in their career, but encouraged to grow with the business.
This will also form part of a more diverse workforce across all industries, in particular STEM jobs such as civil engineers or web developers. Increasing training in these traditionally male-dominated industries will encourage more women to bring their skills to these roles. In turn, businesses will flourish with diverse and multi-talented employees driving their growth.
The freedom to say no
The balance between men and women in senior roles in the workplace shows a staggering disparity. Women held only about 10% of the highest executive posts at companies in 2016/17, and gender bias is a real issue across a number of industries.
With the job market so tough for women, some may feel they should take any job they are offered, even if it is below their skill set, and be grateful for any opportunity that comes their way
But this is changing. With more and more businesses addressing the imbalance in their own infrastructure, and more protection afforded to women who are discriminated against in the job market, the next wave of female leaders will have the freedom to say “no” to opportunities they might encounter.
A business with a good reputation
Another trait of the millennial generation is their acute awareness of a brand’s reputation, particularly in the global marketplace. Social media has become a stage upon which businesses build themselves up, as well as one on which they can crash and burn. With sexual harassment and bullying scandals appearing on our news feeds virtually weekly, the generation that will become tomorrow’s female leaders are acutely aware of the issues facing women in the workplace.
As such, we can expect them to place even greater emphasis on their business’s reputation. They will know only too well the importance of their brand on the world marketplace, and fostering a safe and happy environment in the workplace is a huge stride towards this. Furthermore, a reliable and wholesome reputation will ensure that the best and brightest female minds will feel comfortable and welcomed when joining their ranks, advancing their own growth as a result.
New ways of working
The situation facing a lot of women with senior roles in the workplace today is the lack of flexibility that is available to them. The option to work from home or have flexible working hours is a crucial factor for women in the workplace; not only because it gives options to women who feel torn between having a family or following their career, but because a flexible working environment boosts gender parity.
The advancements and developments in the digital world provide greater opportunities for alternative ways of working. Affordable and portable laptops offer women the flexibility to work anywhere, with options such as:
- Online store builders for ecommerce businesses.
- Dropshipping if you want an ad hoc side hustle.
- Etsy for selling homemade items.
Tools like these make running a business from home easy and accessible. The rise in popularity of hot-desking and working remotely further paves the way for women to be able to work how and where they like.
The next generation of female leaders know that they will not have to choose between a job or a family, and will be able to work virtually wherever and however they please.
The next generation of female leaders has grown up expecting more rights and opportunities in the workplace, and businesses, organizations, and institutions alike will need to sit up and take notice. From alternative ways of working to balance a job with their life to just having the freedom to say “no,” they will blaze a trail as captains of industry.