When most professionals think about mentorship, they picture the traditional one-to-one relationship where a more senior person guides and advises a more junior one. However, there are many mentorship models and the smart professional can also include invisible mentoring and self-mentoring into the mix.
Though the pace is slow, more women are rising into the most senior levels of organizations, and this is excellent news. But a new research study of 1,000 college-educated men and women born since 1980 by Bentley University’s Center for Women & Business took a look at Millennials and how they view work, and found that even though respondents admire women leaders, they are not prepared to make the same sacrifices to get to the top. Is the mentorship tide changing, and do Gen Ys need more mentoring configurations?
Some Findings of the Bentley University Study
- 20 percent of both men and women would like to emulate the career paths of at least one current woman leader in their companies.
- Around 60 percent admire a woman leader but would prefer to take a different path to leadership or are not willing to make the same sacrifices to achieve leadership.
- 34 percent say they would not seek a leadership role because it would take time away from their other responsibilities or private life.
- 61 percent of Millennial women see themselves as ambitious compared to 63 percent of the men.
- 76 percent of the women and 73 percent of the men see themselves as authentic.
- 65 percent of respondents say that being successful in a high-paying career or profession is either one of the most important things in their lives or very important.
- More than 72 percent say they are interested in working in a big corporation someday, with 48 percent saying that their ideal career path would be working at only one or two companies over the course of their careers.
- 84 percent of Millennials are willing to take a lateral move to gain experience or make connections. 69 percent are willing to travel, 68 percent would relocate, 53 percent are willing to work long hours and weekends and 53 percent would take a lower-paying or unpaid job or internship if it gave them the opportunity to gain meaningful experience and make connections.
Gen Ys are very clear about their values and what is important to them. Authenticity is also a big thing for them. Gen Ys need mentors who allow them to be who they are, and perhaps a self-mentoring and/or invisible mentoring model would work better because it lets them take full control of their professional development.
Based on their values and what they want to achieve in their careers, Gen Ys should choose the appropriate mentors to assist them, and it could very well be that they create a board of mentors consisting of people who can fill the various needs they may have. Mentorship programs have to be flexible, incorporating what is more meaningful and important to mentees at each stage of their careers.
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