A recent HBR blog post, Meet the New Face of Diversity:The “Slacker Millennial Guy, delivers a message of hope that Millennial males, rather than formal diversity initiatives will finally break the glass ceiling for aspiring female executives. The blog post gives examples of male surgical residents insisting on more reasonable work hours and male lawyers doing much the same. It also cites the movement of Millennials to small consulting firms where time demands are less and work/life balance is respected. Are generational forces going to make the glass ceiling a thing of the past? We think not.
There have always been males who opted not to work the macho schedules required to attain the highest-paying jobs. But there have also been plenty of men willing to make these sacrifices and there always will be. Note that none of the examples in the HBR blog post involve senior executive roles in major companies — the poster-child positions that define the glass ceiling.
Here’s my prediction. A certain number of Millennial males will accept slower advancement to attend their kids’ sporting events, help with homework and share family dinners. This will make it easier for women to make these same decisions without any stigma. However, neither the men or the women who elect this track are going to get the top leadership roles. For those aspiring to these senior roles, the competition will become increasingly fierce and, absent better approaches to diversity which we’ve been urging for some time, most of these jobs will still go to men.
Success in business requires a strong work ethic. The successful Millennials that I know are willing to devote the time it takes to move ahead.