Much is made of the gender pay gap for women in the workplace. Most of the blame is pointed at hiring and promotion practices. Women make up 26 percent of the nation’s corporate vice presidents and senior managers. Although that can be the product of plain sexism, there may be an even simpler cause: millennial women are simply washing out before they even get close to the glass ceiling.
The first theory, as reported in a recent Fast Company article, is our ever-connected culture. Although both genders are under pressure to outperform a perceived employment pool that is just waiting to take their jobs, women feel this pressure more because of the stress of having to outperform their male counterparts. This means always being available for email and phone calls, even outside of the office. In other words, in their minds, women believe the unavailable bird will miss out on the worm.
This is the recipe for early burnout.
Another prospective facet of this phenomenon is the temporary work culture that has risen in the 21st century. Millennial workers are known for only staying in one job for three or four years before moving to another opportunity that better facilitates the growth they would like to see in their careers. It’s hard to work toward a goal that you cannot even see clearly through all the twists and turns careers now take.
This is particularly true for women, who—if they want children—are working against a biological clock that can only be pushed back so far. If that is the case, women might scale back their professional lives to a level that is more manageable than what they would have pursued otherwise.
Career mobility is of particular interest to us at Rosetta Stone. Millennial workers overwhelmingly seek employers that help them develop their careers, not only by providing paths to promotion but by also providing educational opportunities that help make them more marketable. One of the most popular educational opportunities is language learning. A language learning strategy is a win-win; employers make themselves more attractive to prospective and current employees while employees receive the opportunity to grow within their organization.
In any case, the best recipe to stem this tide of burnout among women employees is satisfaction with the work they are doing. Being engaged in their work can help women avoid burnout, be more productive, and find a work/life balance that suits them.