Millennial women in the world of Graphic Communication
Being a millennial and a woman can be a difficult position to start out in the workspace. It sure is to our guest author Irina Leyva working in graphic communication for Canon Mexicana.
By Irina Leyva | Marketing Manager for Canon Mexicana
“Hello, I’m a woman, I’m a Millennial and I work in the Mexican Graphic Industry.” It’s funny to imagine introducing yourself followed by what seem like problems to be overcome. It is funny until it becomes a reality. In Mexico, only 35% of the people working in the Graphic Industry are women1 of which 43% belong to the Millennial generation2. This makes young women working for the Graphic Industry a clear minority and raises the question, who are the Millennials and what are they looking for? Why has the search for gender equality become so relevant? And of course, what is the impact for the Graphic Industry?
The Generation of the Revolution
There are different sources that define the period which this generation belongs to; however, the generality states that people born between 1981 and 1995 are considered the generation Y. The issue of generational cuts is not an exact science, but they are not arbitrary. It is believed that 1996 is a significant cut between Millennials and Gen-Z for several reasons, including political, economic and social key factors that define the formative years of said generation.
In 2000, we had the chance to vote for the first time as a generation, replacing the ruling party; in the search for a real change we are faced with a current dichotomy where 74% 3 of young Mexicans believe they can still influence government decisions and at the same time they declare there is a sense of exacerbated individuality where common good does not matter.
The introduction of touch screen mobile phones in 2007 was a breakthrough in technology and connectivity, allowing the entire generation to have immediate and unlimited access to information and began to create digital communities focused on people, like social networks.
The awareness regarding climate change is a particularity of the generation and some sources state that it is precisely due to the access to information. According to a study conducted by Morgan Stanley in 2017, 86% of Millennials were interested in investments related to sustainable businesses, in fact the generation invests in companies with social and environmental objectives twice as often as the total population of individual investors.
The constant state of recession has complicated the entry into adult life: the acquisition of cars and housing and material goods in general, move to the background to the point where even values and concepts change.
You are reading this because the characteristics of each generation permeate all aspects of our lives and demand a transformation (or a revolution?) even in the way we do business. The behavior as consumer and worker has caused Millennials to be the target generation of marketing. Why is not consuming suddenly the most important? Why challenge what has worked for years? All of the above attempts to answer these questions. Success is no longer measured in the number of belongings, but in the experiences lived.
Return of experience (ROX)
It is no secret that those who manage to improve the customer experience are those who position themselves in a special place and retain the loyalty of those who have experienced it. The incorporation of experiences has become a key element for the most successful business models.
The current reality is that, while economy of prices and convenience remain important, technology allows consumers to develop their own experience, balancing additional factors such as quality, social approval or environmental impact. With consumers focused now more than ever on those attributes that make up the totality of their experience, it is time for all types of companies to start focusing more on ROX. And PwC gives us six specific recommendations:
PwC’s first recommendation to increase the experience of our clients is to involve our employees in the process. At this point, how confident are you that your collaborators are offering a true experience? What are the differentiators in your business model for graphic communication and how do you make sure to communicate it? And even, are we equally offering men and women a good work experience?
A new era of female talent
Not content with talking about the Millennials, I add the gender issue to this publication. Representing 40% of the workforce globally, this generation has the highest female participation in history. It is a fact that, in the search for gender equality, women now have higher levels of education and job skills. Female enrollment to college has increased almost twice as fast as male enrollment since 1970 and if we talk about postgraduate studies of the 100% enrolled 57% are women.5
Millennial women not only enter a workforce that looks different, but they also enter with a different mindset. 49% of Millennial women who are starting their careers feel they can reach a managerial level. Although there is still a substantial difference between their male peers (71%). The new generation of working women has the highest levels of confidence and ambition registered.
I think these changes have an internal and external impact on companies.
Millennial women demand a change in their jobs and also in their lifestyle; the important difference in this is the inclusion of women in both fields, while, it was not considered or they played traditional roles, before.
Impact for the Graphic Communication Industry
In graphic communication, the role of women is extremely marked. We see manufacturing work, (finishings and arming) where a large part is done by women given the perfectionism and dedication in their work; we have also seen, in some companies, women at the head of support areas where customer service and focus on detail are the guiding principle. Certainly, these roles in the business cycle are not the best paid: according to CONAPRED and ECLAC, even when their employment and education are similar, men earn 34% more than women.
“Hello, I’m a woman, I’m a Millennial and I work in the Mexican Graphic Industry” and over the time that I’ve worked here, I have identified a huge transformation opportunity for our industry. I was recently asked what it was like to work in a largely male-dominated industry and, in summary, I answered how important it has been for me the support of my company in the development of my career.
Owners and directors have a tremendous responsibility when it comes to gender equality. We have already seen some steps towards this transformation, mainly in the inheritance of business to young women. In general, some of the skills mainly developed in women, such as creative thinking, project management, leadership and relationship with clients, can contribute greatly in any sector. The idea is to create a work environment with greater diversity to generate a better perspective and evolve the Industry together.
1 INEGI. Sistema Automatizado de Información Censal (SAIC). 2014.
2 Pirámide de población del mundo desde 1950 hasta 2100, México. Tomando en cuenta edades de 20 a 59 años de edad. Recovered from: https://www.populationpyramid.net/es/m%C3%A9xico/2017/
3 Corral M., Barros O., Ibinarriaga JA., Trad R. ¿Son millennials los jóvenes milenials mexicanos? Nexos, 2018. Recovered from: https://www.nexos.com.mx/?p=39185
4 Global Consumer Insights Survey, 2019. It’s time for a consumer-centred metric: introducing return of experience. Recovered from: https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/consumer-markets/consumer-insights-survey/2019/report.pdf
5 World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education, UNESCO, 2012.