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Gen Y women to break glass ceiling before men, says whitepaper

Women born in Gen Y (between 1980 and 1994) are more likely to break the 'glass ceiling' of employment as their attributes are more suited to modern leadership requirements than men, according to a whitepaper by RPO specialists Hudson.

The paper The Great Generational Shift looks at the challenges of managing a workforce of up to five generations and the different qualities that define each demographic. Based on psychometric testing of around 28,000 global employees, it suggests patterns of behaviour found in different sets of workers. 

Comparing men and women of the baby boomer, Gen X and Gen Y age groups, it found that female Gen Y workers scored highest for social confidence (+16 compared to Gen Y males), altruism (+12) and organisational skills (+22).

They also scored highly for ambition and positive attitude. Hudson head of talent management UK Tim Drake told HR magazine these attributes, and women's propensity to utilise them, will be valuable in the modern workplace.

Leaders are a lot more likely to get challenged now and generally the atmosphere is more collaborative,” he said. “So qualities like being insightful will serve you well. Men have tended to rely on maybe being assertive in leadership. I think that kind of approach belongs to a certain time.”

Whatever their gender, HR directors have a big part to play in identifying the type of leader a business needs, according to Drake.

“As the climate shifts and we move to growth, people are going to be asking the HR director if they have the right kind of leader,” he said. “And they’d better be able to answer that question.”