The gender pay gap in Hollywood became headline news when Jennifer Lawrence published a provocative blog piece about the disparity in wages for women in Hollywood. Her friend and frequent co-star Bradley Cooper took a bold stance to talk about pay equity and committed to changing the status quo.
Like Lawrence and Cooper, millennials are not going to stand by and tolerate what has passed for acceptable corporate behavior of the last 20 years. They are vocal and passionate about inequities, wherever and whenever they see them. This is a great thing for your company, if your company is ready.
I reached out to Christie Hunter Arscott, co-author of the recent International Consortium for Executive Development Research report "Millennial Women." Here is what Arscott says today's executives need to know about millennial women:
They care about compensation. While leaders perceived millennial men as compensation-driven, they viewed millennial women as focused on flexibility, balance and family. However, millennial women identified a higher-paying job as the primary reason they would leave their organization. Caring about compensation is not reserved to men.
They prioritize fairness. Not only do millennial women care about pay from an absolute income perspective, they also value fairness in pay — fairness in relation to their work effort and in relation to how others are compensated. "There is not a fair balance between how hard I work and the compensation I receive" was ranked as one of the top four reasons why women five to 10 years out of university leave their organizations.
Like Jennifer Lawrence, early- to mid-career millennial women are openly questioning the fairness of their pay and rate of progression in comparison to their male counterparts and are demanding more transparency and fairness in all talent processes.
They care about their company's values. In the ICEDR study, millennial women were clear about what is important to them at work. Asked "How important is it to you that your organization inspires you with purpose?” nearly 95 percent responded "Important.” Organizations that do not prioritize values such as gender equality and pay parity risk losing the hearts and minds of their employees — men and women — who care about working within an environment that inspires them and reflects their own ethics.
They want a voice. In traditional corporate hierarchies, having a say on key business or people issues is reserved for senior executives. Millennials are shaking up this model. Approximately 80 percent of women surveyed by ICEDR stated their desire to have a voice and be heard.
Millennial women who are unsatisfied with pay, fairness and company values are not likely to take a back seat. And I agree with Arscott's conclusion: Millennial women’s preferences and values have broader talent implications. By implementing strategies and programs informed by the needs of Millennial women, leaders will simultaneously address what matters most to the broader talent pool.