Millennial Women Really, Really Need Role Models At Work, This Huge Survey Says

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Ahead of Women’s Equality Day on Sunday, accounting firm PwC has released the results of a global survey asking employees what has changed for women at work. One of the key findings is that female millennials in the workplace need role models to close the wage gap and advance in their careers. The firm used a third-party research firm to conduct the survey from Jan. 15-30, 2015, and received responses from 10,105 people between the ages of 20 and 35 from more than 75 countries. Among the results is an encouraging stat: 66 percent of female millennials say they earn equal to or more than their partners or spouses. According to PcW, “the more career-experienced the female millennial, the higher the likelihood she will be the primary earner.”

Does this mean we’re seeing the keys to end the wage gap? The Pew Research Center reported as recently as April that the gender wage gap was narrowing in the United States, but still persists. In 2017, Pew Research reported, U.S. women earned 82 percent of what men earned, meaning it would take women an estimated 47 more days of work to earn the same amount as men did in 2017. And these numbers aren’t accounting for racial differences in the wage gap, which show even greater disparities. But if just over half of the young, female global workforce is finally starting to close that wage gap, we’re making progress, right?

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These survey respondents say women need help if we’re going to continue to close the gender wage gap. According to the survey, 40 percent of the current global workforce is female but only 4.8 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are female, the same as it was in 2015, according to Fortune. But the female millennials who responded to the survey back in 2015 don’t feel like they have the role models to help them raise those numbers, and about 25 percent of them say they can’t find senior female executives who “resonate with them” to reach out to as mentors. Those respondents are certainly on to something.

According to The Bonhill Group, Facebook commissioned some research for its #SheMeansBusiness program and found that there’s a “confidence curve” for women between the ages of 25 to 39 that can hold them back from succeeding in the business world. But the help of an experienced and, more importantly, relatable role model, says The Bonhill Group, might be the key to helping young women reach CEO status.

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It should be noted that nearly half (49 percent) of the female survey respondents say they do feel they can rise to the top levels of their careers with their current employers with or without the help of a role model, so there are some super career-confident ladies out there. But that’s in comparison to the 71 percent of the male millennial respondents who feel the same way, so the gender career confidence gap remains. That’s why it’s still vital for women to put the work in to help each other climb the ladder together.

These survey numbers certainly are encouraging, but we haven’t reached the finish line yet. Not until we’ve reached parity for everyone.