It’s Flexibility, If You Want To Attract and Retain Gen Y In The Workforce
Most of the generations are driven by pay, especially Gen Z that hungry for cash. Gen Y are also driven by pay but they place more priority on flexibility. For women and men in Gen Y, they want flexibility and challenging work.
In the 2018 Malaysian Labour Force Survey shows that 60.2% of women are not seeking for work because of housework, which includes family responsibilities that include child and elderly care. It’s a common problem raised by women as it’s the reason why they can’t take heavier responsibilities or leadership roles in the workforce.
To retain and attract Gen Y in the workforce, flexibility is a very important criterion for women and men in Gen Y.
For Gen Y, they understand that they have a career ultra marathon ahead of them and want to achieve One Life balance for the long run. As for women though, for them to participate in the workforce and pursue challenging work, it must come with flexibility.
So what are the factors that contributing to the lower rate of women participation in the workforce compared to men?
I asked my colleague, she's married and she said "as a millennial women that married and have children to take care of, lack of day care facilities are one of the factors". A lot of women can’t return to the workforce after a career break because of absence of support or training.
The other factors that are frequently addressed are no options for flexible working hours and also lack of gender diversity policies in the workplace.
Flexibility Can Be a Win-Win Situation for Both
Flexible work environment benefits everyone. A new father might want to spend quality time with his children. A new mother might want to have time with her new-born. A son and daughter might want to help to take care of their aging parents.
Dean of Harvard Kennedy School said that “millennial men's interest in having a fuller life out of work than their predecessors may accelerate gender equality, but only if they are also interested in caring for children”.
We need to move away from a perception where we cannot be productive when we out from our desk. We can work flexibly as today’s workforce allows us to plug-in and work from anywhere.
Employers Should Support Workplace Flexibility
63% of enrollment in public university are women, and it shows that Malaysia has done well in achieving gender parity in education. However, large number of them tend to leave workforce due to personal or family commitments.
Employers should foster a more flexible work culture throughout the organization. Employers can leverage on Talent Corporation’s (TalentCorp) Future of Work initiative, to consider flexible working arrangements to retain talents especially millennial or Gen Y.
Managers should understand the importance of family as being able to recognize that working Gen Y have the same needs to take care of their children and provide support for each other for the development of the children. For her, to be a good mother to children and also good daughter to the aging parents, the access to flexibility for parenting and care-giving is very important.
Nowadays, in the current workforce, we can see that women as a leader as employers now realized the important of work flexibility to attract and retain talent.
Although it seems that flexibility is critical for millennial women than millennial men, we still need to give opportunities for men to find out what it would feel like to be a more available dad or care-giver and they can also share in the burden of the work at home. So, flexibility is critical for her and still a nice to have for him.
Read more on specific generational needs here