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Up or Out? Every second female millennial wants a career jump or a job change

key takeaways in this article:

  • More than half of women surveyed are aiming for a higher position within the next 5 years

  • 50% of 18-40 year old employees can imagine changing employers

  • Positive work climate most important factor in employer choice for nearly 3 in 4 Millennials

  • Female respondents explicitly want mentoring programs and more diversity at management level from their employer

  • The biggest channel for searching for jobs is personal networks

  • When choosing a job, millennials are not concerned with money - at least not primarily; it's the atmosphere between colleagues that counts.

  • Support in setting and achieving goals and opportunities for advancement are also high on the wish list of employees in order to remain motivated in the job.

All this and more is shown by the joint study "Millennials’ Career Paths 2022" by the female factor in collaboration with the auditing and consulting company EY, conducted among more than 3,000 employees aged 18 to 40 in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Millennial women are looking to change jobs

A large proportion of 18-40 year olds say they can imagine changing jobs, 48% of respondents say they are open to a new employer and 14% are even actively looking for a new job. Women are also currently more likely to be actively looking for a new job than men (17 versus 11%).

The main reasons for wanting to change jobs are the following:

  • dissatisfaction with the current salary and a poor working atmosphere (20% each)

  • 1 in 9 respondents (11%) sees excessive demands or pressure of work as a decisive factor for a possible resignation

  • And 1 in 10 respondents sees a conflict with their supervisor.

Millennials find a new job primarily through their personal network, according to 34% of respondents.

However, the top criterion when selecting a new employer is not money - but the working atmosphere. These are the most important facts for women when selecting a new employer:

  1. working atmosphere (80%)

  2. work-life balance (61%)

  3. salary (56%)

  4. interesting tasks (50%)

"Good working atmosphere/team/colleagues" are clearly more important for women than for men, as are the factors "gaining professional experience" and "flexibility".

Women’s biggest source of motivation is a pleasant working environment

80% of women consider the working atmosphere as particularly important - for men, the figure is 64%. However, almost half (43%) of those surveyed said that salary was the decisive factor in choosing their current employer. This is followed by the working atmosphere (40%) and the interesting tasks (25%).

The work climate is also the most important criterion for women and men with childcare responsibilities, followed by compatibility with childcare, work-life balance and salary.

"Younger professionals in particular want to try things out more often these days. They see opportunities for this in the labour market as there are vacancies for qualified employees due to the shortage of skilled workers, which applies to almost all industries. Companies are therefore well-advised to respond to the individual situation and wishes of employees, and to offer flexibility in terms of development opportunities, the place of work and private life. And what's more, for companies it means that a positive atmosphere and work culture are immensely important in retaining good employees - and attracting new ones," says Rosemarie König, Director of Auditing and Head of the EY Women's Network Next Gen and mentor at the female factor.

Women are significantly more likely to aspire to a higher function

The keyword here is networking and advancing one's own career goals: When it comes to career planning, women in particular are aiming for higher positions.

  • A good third of the women surveyed (34%) who are currently employed are aiming for a higher function with their current employer within the next five years.

  • 30% of women say they plan to do so by changing employers in the next five years. Among men, the figure is only 14%.

"One thing is clear: women want to lead. In our study, one in two women would like to advance in their careers and reach a higher position in the next five years. That's an immense potential of talent that companies need to recognize and allow on management boards. It should also be noted that female respondents currently place a higher value on diversity in leadership than their male counterparts," says Mahdis Gharaei, co-Founder and co-CEO of the female factor.

Employers must recognize and promote potential

Above all, employees want to be encouraged - and they also express this wish to their employers. 55% of respondents talk to their superiors about their career plans.

To stay motivated in the workplace, 1 in 4 women would like mentoring opportunities and more diversity at management level. Only 1 in 10 men find mentoring exciting and 1 in 20 men value diversity.

"Every second woman aspires to a higher position - either in their own company or at another. In order to achieve these career plans, internal and external mentoring programs can be particularly helpful and also expand the personal network at the same time. Mentors can also provide support in identifying potential and formulating goals," Rosemarie König emphasises.

According to their own statements, employees with their own career plan want:

  • 50% of them want their superiors to be able to recognize and promote the potential of their employees

  • 48% want to be able to clearly formulate and communicate goals

  • 33% want their supervisors to develop strategies for achieving goals and to be able to recognize and resolve conflicts

Women are much more likely to want the ability to recognize potential (62%) than men (39%) - men, conversely, are more likely (36%) to want conflict recognition and resolution skills than women (29%).

Employers looking to attract more female talent must take into account the relevant statistics to take into their next strategy session in order to build a workplace that’s future-ready for the next generation of female leaders. Sign up to receive the full version of this study results here and find a summary of the survey results here.

about EY

EY* is one of the leading audit and consulting organizations in Austria. The company employs over 1,000 people at four locations and generated revenues of 157 million euros in the 2020/2021 financial year. Together with the approximately 300,000 employees of the international EY organization, EY serves clients all over the world.

EY offers both large and medium-sized companies a comprehensive portfolio of services: Audit, Tax, Legal, Transaction Advisory and Management Consulting.

For more information, visit

*The name EY in this profile refers to all Austrian member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited (EYG), a limited liability company under English law. Each EYG member firm is legally autonomous and independent and is not liable for the acts and omissions of any other member firm.


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