Organisations must develop HR policy which recognises young men’s desire for greater work-life balance and more equal share of parenting if they are to achieve their objective of a more gender diverse workforce.
This is the key finding of new research from the Executive Coaching Consultancy, specialists in helping employers nurture and retain their female talent, which examined the career aspirations and attitudes of over one thousand young men and women and the potential impact of their future choices on gender diversity.
The study “Gen Y Men and The City” which is published today, finds that unless organisations start to understand and accommodate the changing aspirations of the new generation of men in the workplace within HR policy, gender initiatives are likely to be limited in their impact.
Young men and women want the same things from life and work
- A desire for better work life balance and flexible working opportunities, and to share parenting responsibilities equitably with their partner. Although City firms are delivering what young men and women want when they start their careers they are failing to provide the type of career trajectory and support they expect in order to achieve work/life balance.
Many eschew traditional paths to senior roles
- While 80% of men and 73% of women say they are satisfied with their current employer, and pay and development opportunities are in line the expectations they had on joining the business, a substantial number of men (42%) and women (52%) say they don’t want to progress to senior management, and can’t see themselves staying beyond another five years.
- Like their female colleagues, interest in progressing to a senior position is waning early in the career of many men, because they cannot see that it is possible to have a senior role and a healthy work/home balance. Linked to this point, men say they want a structured career path that is based on their individual strengths rather than traditional paths to partnership which tend to be linear and prescribed and often demand more time away from family life than men are prepared to sacrifice.
Men want to share parenting responsibilities equitably with their partner
- When fatherhood arrives men want to play a greater role in parenting, with 78% wanting to explore the idea of shared parental leave. A lack of enhanced paternity pay is seen by both sexes as the biggest barrier to men taking up Shared Parental Leave (36%), followed by concern that it would negatively impact the father’s career (25%).
Penalty-free flexibility for all
- With or without a family to consider, this generation wants flexible working in order to balance work and commitments outside of work. Overall, some 88% of men and 82% of women think all employers should have flexible working in place, and over half of women (53%) and four in ten men (43%) saying they would change employer to do the same job with greater flexibility. There is a clear perception among women that flexible working carries a penalty on career progression and pay leading 57% to say they want more equality in career opportunities and clarity around promotion paths for flexible workers.
Geraldine Gallacher, Managing Director, ECC and author of the report said:
“The implications of these findings for HR are clear, while female centric policies can make an important contribution to addressing gender diversity, they are only part of the solution. Gender parity in pay and career progression can only be achieved through policy that addresses the needs of both men and women.