13.5 C
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
HomeCanadaWith the new generations, we have to see career paths differently –...

With the new generations, we have to see career paths differently – especially those of women


Last July, the World Economic Forum published its report on gender inequality in the world.

The report, now in its sixteenth edition, analyzes changing gender gaps in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, education, health and political power. It proposes a reflection on the sources of gender gaps and suggests policies and practices that can lead to better gender equality.

His shock conclusion: it will take another 132 years (compared to 136 in 2021) to close the gender gap.

This leads me to a new reflection on the career path of women in our organizations. I have studied the presence of women in high administrative spheres for decades, and I see that things are not moving quickly. Gold, this inequality of opportunity between women and men “implies a colossal economic cost, because it stifles productivity and weighs on growth”, write Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, and the American economist Jonathan D. Ostry,

Career paths designed for men

My vision of a successful career is still today associated with reaching the highest position within an organization, that of CEO, a position mostly occupied by men over time.

The leadership qualities required to climb the ladder to achieve this ultimate function are always more associated with those of men (command, control) than those of women (empathy, compassion, collaboration). In this traditional vision of a career, the man who held this key position could count on the support of a female partner who took care almost exclusively of domestic chores, taking care of the education of the children and supporting him. in his career so that he can devote himself totally to it.

Still today, there is a significant imbalance between men and women in a leadership position in tasks related to family well-being.

If such a model proved useful in the middle of the last century, it has gradually become outdated with the arrival on the labor market of women with professional ambitions as high as men, but unable to count, in a family context, on a male partner dedicated solely to the realization of his professional ambitions.

This traditional model of career path is also in no way appropriate for single people or childless couples who are aiming for a balance in life, and not professional success at all costs.

Reconsider work

Is this quest for a balanced life unique to women? According to the results of a survey conducted by McKenzie with American workersnearly two-thirds said Covid-19 had made them reflect on their purpose in life. Almost half said they were reconsidering the type of work they were doing because of the pandemic.

Millennials were three times more likely than others to want to re-evaluate their work. Another noteworthy tidbit from this survey: While 85% of middle and senior managers said they found meaning in their work, only 15% of managers and frontline employees agreed. This new conception of work leads some men to reposition themselves and devote fewer hours to it.

Is it time, faced with the expression of such needs by both women and men of the new generation, to rethink career paths?

The kaleidoscopic career path

A review of the literature on the subject led me to an interesting concept called the kaleidoscopic career path.

According to the designers of this approach, a career pursued by a woman often takes the form of a kaleidoscope that produces changing patterns depending on the position of the tube. The shards of glass then fall into new arrangements. Women are changing the pattern of their careers by pivoting different aspects of their lives to organize their roles and relationships. This model includes three parameters that relate to the beginning of the career, the middle of the career and the end of the career:

Authenticity: “Can I be myself in this career choice and still be authentic? »

Balance : “If I make this career choice, can I balance the different spheres of my life into a coherent whole? »

Challenge : “If I accept this career option, will I have enough challenges? »

Such a vision of the evolution of a career is thus based on the needs of the person and not only those of the organization.

Finally, if such an approach offers a good reading of the path taken by many women to live their professional ambitions, there is no doubt in my mind that this quest for authenticity, balance and challenge is also characteristic of the new generations and of several men.

Have it all, yes, but not all at the same time

We have long seen the period of thirties as the pivot of a professional development. But the context is changing: leadership positions may increasingly rely on ever-changing talents and skills, not on old-fashioned vertically-created ladders.

As Madeleine Albright said : “Women can have it all, just not at the same time”.

I believe that this will be, in the future, just as characteristic of women as of men in search of a better balance in life, whatever their age, gender, cultural background or disability.

The author of what'snew2day.com is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Latest stories