What Does the New Millennial Working Mom Look Like? - dummies

What Does the New Millennial Working Mom Look Like?

By Hannah L. Ubl, Lisa X. Walden, Debra Arbit

Millennial moms are a big part of the workforce. How wonderful is it that the world now is less June Cleaver and more Claire Huxtable? Working mothers have had to chart an unknown and obstacle-ridden path for decades, and now Millennials are clearing their own way.

What she looks like

To get an understanding of how this working mom is different from generations past, consider the following:

  • She is sharing. Both partners in a relationship share the roles more evenly in parenting now but, by and large, women (if studying a male-female relationship) are more likely to say that they will make career sacrifices for their families. See these stats from the Pew Research Center.
Millennials career interruptions
Source: “Women More Than Men Adjust Their Careers for Family Life” Pew Research Center, Washington, DC (September, 2015)
Career interruptions: mothers versus fathers.
  • She is networked. About 90 percent of Millennial moms find social media helpful in their parenting process, using blogs, crowdsourcing, and Facebook pages as a way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, tips, and advice for Millennial mothers (Crowdtap, 2016).

“We have so much access to tech now. From daycares that have cameras where you can check in, to teachers who respond via text or email, and there’s so much out there for working moms.” — Michelle S., Millennial

  • She is not as common as you’d think. Progress continues to be made with a higher number of women returning to work after having a child, and there are fewer hiring discrepancies for working moms in big roles. However, the great strides that women have been taking are starting to take a dip. As of 1990, the United States boasted having one of the world’s highest employment rates for women. However, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, after rates consistently climbed for more than 60 years, the percentage of women (ages 25 to 54) at work has been declining as of late, falling from 74 percent in 1999 to 69 percent today. While it’s hardly a steep drop, it is worth noting. Lack of flexibility and the ability to work from home are making qualified and successful women feel like parenthood and working don’t mix.
  • She is ambitious but concerned. According to a Pew Research Center study in 2015, 58 percent of Millennial moms are concerned about how their parenthood will impact their careers Will the DINKy (Dual Income No Kids) peer of hers get the job instead because she has more flexibility and fewer time constraints?
Millennial working mothers
On Pay Gap, Millennial Women Near Parity — For Now” Pew Research Center, Washington, DC (December, 2013)
Working mothers and career advancement.

How you can best manage the Millennial mom

As a manager, you have a unique ability to make a big difference for the women that you manage. Your Millennial-mom employees are looking to you for guidance, resources, and tools to make the most out of their careers while also being the rock-star mom they know they can be deep inside. Consider simple things that you can do to better connect with her:

  • Take a genuine interest in her personal life.
  • Give her as much freedom and flexibility as possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about it.
  • Support her. If you don’t know how, ask.
  • Don’t make assumptions about what she will or won’t do after she has a baby (or two or three).
  • Ask questions. Be sure to ask Millennial dads the same ones.