Millennial women are graduating into some harsh career realities. Not only is unemployment high for all college grads, putting them permanently behind in their earnings, but young women are coming face-to-face with one of the most difficult career dynamics faced by all women: that their work does not speak for itself.
Women may be the majority of college grads, but they’re earning thousands less than male cohorts — right from the start. Apparently, they’re not negotiating for better starting pay. Why should you negotiate when your grades are great, you’ve festooned your resume with nonprofit leadership and you are confident in your abilities and direction?
Because if you don’t think you’re great enough to push for top dollar, employers won’t do that for you. As we parsed in some detail in the 2011 Accounting MOVE Report,
millennial women assume that their credentials shield them from having to engage in uncomfortable self-promotion. It’s vaguely unbecoming for women to point out their good work. Bosses and potential bosses should simply recognize exemplary work and recognize it.
That mistake is fatal at any point in one’s career. But in this slow-growth economy, millennial women who assume that their hard work in college will automatically translate to a good job might be permanently derailing their career prospects.
Career planning, networking and negotiation skills used to wait until you actually had a job. Not anymore. Heads up, girls: The time to cultivate critical career management skills is before you graduate.