An Opportunity to Show that Women Can – International Women’s Day Spotlight with Kemi

For International Women’s Day 2024, Amberjack decided to sit down with women from the latest generation to enter your workforce: Generation Z. These Gen Z women explore our latest research, ‘What Gen Z Women Want’, and share some of their own feelings and experiences too!

For our first spotlight, we speak to Kemi! Kemi is currently on a placement year here at Amberjack, working as a Candidate Engagement Specialist.

“My name is Kemi. I study International Business Management and I have keen interest in ESG and wish to explore this further in my career.”

Diving straight into our recent research with women aged 18-26, we asked our respondents what emotions they felt when they entered the workforce for the first time. The top five emotions felt were Nervous, Excited, Determined, Motivated, and Worried. It’s great to see that the majority of emotions are positive. We asked Kemi why she thought this might be.

“I think most of the emotions being positive is due to the excitement of establishment. As a young professional, most people don’t have a multitude of experience and if they do, it sometimes doesn’t relate to their area of interest. Personally, before entering the workforce, I was so excited for the opportunity to explore a speciality and was determined to make my mark on whatever company I joined. I think a lot of people share this motivation as its very intrinsic in nature.”

Despite this, 85% of the Gen Z women who took part in our survey felt nervous, the strongest emotion felt by these young women entering the workforce, what is it that makes a young woman nervous when joining new organisations, especially for the first time? Were you nervous when you first entered the workforce?

“This statistic makes quite a bit of sense – a majority of professions are heavily male dominated and unfortunately it can be quite difficult for a woman to establish themselves in the world of work. Only recently has there been a shift in societal attitude in prioritising and encouraging an increase in the number of women in the workforce.”

“I think there are a variety of reasons as to why a woman can feel nervous, but I think one of the biggest is definitely the apprehension of not being taken seriously and your intelligence being undermined. Whist I think there is a general consensus that the mindset surrounding women at work has become more progressive, I believe that there is still an imbalance in multiple professions which can continue to be improved.”

“As I said, I was excited to join the workforce but was nervous too. It was intimidating and entering a space where most people have experience was nerve-wracking. Although, in my experience, I think it helped that I wasn’t the only one. There were multiple people like me looking for an opportunity to get their foot in the door towards the first steps of their career.

Majority of our respondents shared that they significantly change how they act with colleagues and senior members of staff? How do you think organisations can make their new hires feel more comfortable to help combat this?

“This is very subjective and is dependent on a lot of factors such as the individual and personality type. It is easy to say that an organisation could do ‘XYZ’ to combat the disparity within work relationships, but it needs to be acknowledged that a lot of things affect this.”

“However, I would say induction and training periods are key as this is where you learn the ropes, but it is also an opportunity to get to know colleagues – especially new ones. The use of empathy and non-work-related topics is likely what will build a level of familiarity and atmosphere of ease.”

“Not only this but I think investing in the development of a company’s workforce would help as well because it then becomes apparent that whilst employees are investing their time, the organisation acknowledges and plays an active hand towards the betterment of the workforce which would increase motivation through a sense of job enrichment.”

The data from our research indicates that some industries are assumed to be more accepting of women than others, with Care and Teaching are felt to be most accepting of women, and Engineering and Manufacturing felt to be least accepting. Going into the future with your chosen career path as an International Business Management Student, do you feel apprehensive at all?

“100%. I’m most definitely apprehensive to delve deeper in the world of development economics but I’ve never let that emotion deter me before. More than anything, I’m excited, as it’s an opportunity to show that women can in fact do more than what is thought of at first glance.”

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