You’ll be surprised to see how under-30 women value workplace factors

I’m joking a little bit here, but do you think there’s a correlation between the increased popularity of yoga and the increased importance of workplace flexibility?

A Fairygodboss online survey of 100 women showed that flexible hours/part-time employment is one of the most cherished job factors for women job seekers.

But while workplace flexibility is important to women under 30 years old as well as to women over 30, some unexpected findings surprised me, including this one:

Flexibility ranks number two in importance for the older group of women, yet only third for the younger women.

Although this is just a ranking difference of one place, I think it’s interesting that flexibility is somewhat more important for the older women. I would have anticipated the reverse result.

More important distinctions

Good compensation is at the top of the list for both groups, but the younger women rate good company performance above flexibility; this attribute (company performance) only ranks sixth for older women.

The other most striking disparity is in the category of good benefits, such as health care. It comes in at number three for older women but is pushed way down to number 10 for women under 30 years old. (That may explain why younger, healthier Americans aren’t signing up for Obamacare in the number predicted.)

In fact, for the younger women, it was even more important (eighth rank) to work for a company that’s involved in the community than to have good company benefits. Is this telling us that Millennials value the health of their community above their personal health?

And, wouldn’t you expect the younger Millennials to want the ability to work from home (or from a coffee shop)? Apparently not – that was number 15 and at the very bottom of their rankings.

Having women in leadership roles was slightly more important for the younger women, coming in at number nine, while older women put it at number 12.

I think the wisdom of Millennial women is highlighted by another disparity between themselves and their older peers. For the younger women surveyed, having the opportunity to be mentored was very important, ranking fourth on their list. With the older women, this company attribute came in 14th – next to last.

Another place of major disparity is in the category of vacation time. It was fifth on the over 30s’ list while it came it at number 12 for the young women.

Recognize what’s important to individuals

There’s an important lesson to be learned when you begin to appreciate how these groups diverge: In managing people, be sensitive to individual differences. You need to value everyone equally, but this doesn’t mean that you need to treat everyone the same in the sense of enforcing “cookie cutter” policies.

Consider surveying your workforce – women and men – on these job factors and see which are important to the individuals you employ. This could lead to discovering some simple ways to improve your work environment. For example, setting up a mentoring program for those who value that job benefit would be easy and low cost.

Of course, it’s critical to keep your entire team happy, satisfied, and loyal, and if you can cultivate positive working relationships with Millennials, you’re doing a lot to assure the future success of your company.