millennial women quitting jobs

Why Are Millennial Women Leaving Their Jobs?


Feb. 8 2016, Published 2:30 a.m. ET

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As one of the largest and most enthusiastic groups in the workforce, according to a recent report, it seems millennial women are starting to feel that they may not be the best fit for traditional employers.

The report from Deloitte finds that over the course of the next year, one in four millennials will take necessary measures to ensure they find opportunities that will prepare them for the next step of their professional journey. That figure is expected to jump to 44 percent within the next two years.  Of the millennial women who responded to this year’s survey, 67 percent of them are claim they likely to leave their current occupations within the next five years. One reason lies in this stat: close to half, 48 percent, feel they are being overlooked for potential leadership positions.

Lesley Fulop, a Capitol Hill communications director, believes that millennial women always looking for their next challenge and the next opportunity.

“Speaking for myself, I think that feeling a sense of ‘comfort’ in a job is dangerous to the steady progression of our career goals,” she said. “The jobs that we all have in our mid-20’s are not the jobs we want for the rest of our lives. We know what we want and we know how to achieve it.”

Additionally, Deloitte found that millennial women and men value different things when it comes to thriving in the workplace.

For instance, millennial women are more likely to “place greater emphasis on flexible working opportunities and the ability to derive a sense of meaning from their work.” However, millennial men are focused on their performance and the things they create in the work place.

In her previous position, marketing director Helena Hounsel learned that millennials are frequently driven by passion over paycheck, and value things like culture, gaining responsibility early, and creating impact.

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“I’m motivated by building brands and companies from the very start, even if that means a lower paycheck,” Helena said. “What I get in return is being able to be a part of the decision making, I get to drive the company in a direction I have a hand in creating, knowing that the money will come. All I need is to know I’m positively impacting and inspiring the people around me and making the world a better place, no matter how small.”

Additionally, millennials want to have opportunities where their leadership skills are cultivated and nurtured.

  • While millennials are holding leadership positions, “more than six in 10 millennials (63 percent) say their “leadership skills are not being fully developed.”
  • 71 percent of those millennials who are likely to leave in the next two years and are also unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed.
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That  is precisely the reason why both Helena and Lesley decided that it was time for them to move on to the next opportunity.

“My previous work environment failed to challenge me and had been failing to do so for longer than I would like to admit,” Lesley said. “I knew that it was easier to stay in my comfort zone but I also recognized that remaining professionally stagnant was stifling my growth and would only delay reaching my career goals.” 

For Helena, she realized that she reached the point of burn out and was simply just going through the motions. “I was overextending myself, making excuses, doing, doing, doing without stepping back and prioritizing my actions and decisions,” she said.

“Sometimes you need to change your role, company, location, etc. to make the necessary changes and grow in the workplace the way you need to grow.”

Professionally, millennial women (and men) are in the position to really make a mark on their work environments, but it will be critical for us to ask forgiveness rather than permission when it comes to our development as leaders. We have the tools that we need to excel as leaders – we just need to confidently take hold of what is at our disposal and make the most of it.

“In the world I live in, our generation has a vision to change the world,” Helena said. “We don’t get complacent, we want to be challenged, and we want to build something that truly matters that makes us excited to get up in the morning.”

For millennial women, thriving in the workplace isn’t simply about obtaining a fancy title, a huge corner office, unlimited vacation days or a six-figure check. While all of those are great incentives, young women today want to make a long-lasting impact that will not only enhance their organization’s value, but further develop their personal and professional skill set as well.


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