Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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What Gen Y Women Really Are Like

There's always interest in the values and attitudes of the newest generation of working women. To discover the answer, the Business and Professional Women's (BPW) Foundation took a survey of Generation Y Women in the Workplace.

It studied attitudes, perspectives on intergenerational workplace dynamics, and perceptions of how gender impacts their workplace experiences. The report also includes recommendations to help employers attract and support Gen Y women employees.

"In order for businesses to engage successfully with the workforce of tomorrow, it is imperative that they understand Gen Y - what challenges them, what inspires them, what motivates them," said Deborah L. Frett, BPW Foundation CEO.  

By 2025, Generation Y (born 1978-1994) will comprise nearly 75 percent of the world's workforce. Their familiarity and expertise with technology, coupled with their multicultural perspectives and their insatiable desire for making a difference, poise Gen Y to revolutionize the workplace.  Assuming that current trends continue, by 2025 women will make up at least 50 percent of the U.S. workforce. 
 
"BPW Foundation's Young Careerist (YC) research has focused on the career choices and challenges of Generation Y women.  Our research provides employers and policymakers with important insights on the needs and challenges of key groups of working women with a variety of skills, education and training," explained Dr. Sheila Barry-Oliver, Chair of the BPW Research and Education Committee that oversaw the research.  

Over the last year, Foundation conducted three employer-based focus groups. The participants included not only Gen Y women, but also managers of Gen Y employees, in order to highlight both employee and employer perspectives.
 
Findings included:
* Gen Y women recognize work as a key component in the framework of their lives. Work life has a critical impact on all other areas of life. 
* Gen Y women assume that work will be rewarding and interesting, rather than drudgery. In fact, Gen Y women expect to enjoy their work. 
* Gen Y women are concerned about the impact a family will have on their careers.  Gen Y women perceive gender differences in terms of long-term career and family/childcare decisions. 
* Gen Y women want to be evaluated based on their productivity and the quality of the work they produce, not the number of hours they sit at their desks.
  
The three most important employer characteristics Gen Y women seek when looking for a job is:
1. Opportunity  for employees to self-manage 
2. Emphasis on meeting goals, as opposed to how, when or where people do the work 
3. Availability of and focus on career advancement opportunities 
BPW Foundation  develops and advocates for polices and programs that "work" for both women and businesses. For more information, visit www.bpwfoundation.org.
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