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How do millennials perceive women in leadership?

10 Nov 2016

The business benefits of achieving gender diversity in the workplace are well documented.

However, new research from Qualtrics shows that only 74% of Australian millennials say men and women make equally effective leaders.

Gender equity can increase an organisation’s problem solving capabilities, and research has found that a diverse workforce can improve a business’s financial performance.

According to Qualtrics, as millennials continue to advance in their careers into leadership roles, it’s the perfect time to question how millennials view women in those roles. 

Qualtrics and venture capital firm, Accel, recently surveyed more than 8,000 people across three generations: millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers, across Australia, the U.K. and the US, to learn more about their views on gender diversity. 

“Australian millennials and their U.K. counterparts had similar views on women in leadership and professional roles,” says Bill McMurray, managing director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Qualtrics.

The survey shows in the U.K., 68% of millennials say men and women make equally effective leaders.

“It was interesting to see that men who said both sexes aren’t equally-effective leaders are more than three times more likely than women to say men make the better leaders,” McMurray says.

“Conversely, 1% of millennial women say women make the better leaders.” 

The survey revealed 65% of respondents said that workplace opportunities equally favour men and women. However, men are 77% more likely to have felt frequently discriminated against than women. 

Interestingly, the survey also found women are twice as likely than men to leave a job because they feel they don’t have a future there. 

“Workplace diversity and gender equity can help to give companies a competitive advantage by increasing its adaptability, broadening its service range and promoting a variety of perspectives,” McMurray says.

“Therefore, it’s important that organisations have a thorough understanding of how employees view gender diversity so they can implement programmes to effect change if necessary.”

McMurray says the best way to gain a good understanding of employee attitudes is to conduct regular surveys with employees, specifically on diversity-related topics.

“The anonymity provided by survey platforms, like Qualtrics, often results in truthful answers,” he says.

“From here, it is critical to have the results in real-time so the business can act quickly on data to promote gender equity in the workplace through targeted campaigns, programs and training.” 

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