The (Slight) Millennial Gender Gap

Millennial business attitudes vary slightly based on gender

Millennials’ aspirations and attitudes toward skills, leadership qualities and the desirability of employment in specific industry sectors vary, but only slightly, based on the gender of the respondent, Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey finds. The real gap is in how much they desire to hold the top position in their company.

Men tend to seek senior positions more than women (64% vs. 57%), with the gap growing to 12 points when they are asked how likely they are to seek to become the leader or most senior executive at their organization, Deloitte says.

Women rate themselves on par with men in financial, economic and general business knowledge and higher than men in academic knowledge and general business skills, such as professionalism, teaming and communication. But when asked about leadership skills, a small gap emerges, with 27% of men saying they are strong in this area compared to 21% of women. Though the gap on leadership self-rating varies by country, in no place do significantly more women than men say they have strong leadership skills upon graduation from college. Moreover, in several countries, men are much more likely than women to say leadership is a strength they possess: Peru (20-point gap); Italy (19); Germany (13); South Korea (13); South Africa (12); Switzerland (12); Japan (11); Mexico (11) and France (10).

They also vary in what they consider to be leadership traits, with 46% of women saying employee reward and development is a trait compared to 39% of men. Thirty-three percent of women say having a meaningful purpose is a leadership quality, but just 28% of men agree. Men (at 38%), however, say an organization’s ability to create innovative products and services is indicative of leadership, compared to 33% of women.

The gaps correspond to different priorities millennials say they would hold as senior leaders, with women placing more emphasis on employee well-being and general development and men being more likely to focus on short-term financial goals and personal rewards.