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Are you a female millennial with ambition? Start planning for the top job now.

Breaking ahead

A lot has been written about women on boards, with many seeing them as a reflection of the wider role of women in business. Its clear progress has been made over the last decade but statistics tell us there’s still some way to go. As things currently stand women are set to outnumber men in the labour force, yet they still lag behind when it comes to securing the more senior roles. Less than a quarter of board positions in the UK are occupied by females, despite women driving up to 80 per cent of all purchasing decision.

Professor Sucheta Nadkarni

Professor Sucheta Nadkarni

Setting aside the doom and gloom figures, what can women do on an individual level to practically and positively increase their chances of securing a top job? Professor Sucheta Nadkarni, who leads the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Cambridge Judge Business School, shares a few of her insights and tips for female millennials with ambition.

  1. Recognise that gender equality is good for business
    Be confident and knowledgeable about the role gender diversity plays in making business function better, in attracting and understanding customers and ultimately, in improving the bottom line. Make sure you understand the role diversity plays in your organisation and what this means for the ‘bigger picture’. This could mean looking at your customer base and identifying what you can bring to better understand their needs; or it could mean assessing the balance on the board and the need for greater diversity of views and experience.
  2. Network, network, network
    Aside from the quality of your work, networking is the key for women looking to advance their careers. Young women entering the workforce should be thinking about their network from day one and for those already mid-way through their careers, there are multiple ways in which to help increase your reach; including joining industry networks and being an active participant within your professional communities.
  3. Invest in yourself
    Think of your career as a long-term project that needs frequent attention and long-term investments. The pace of change in the work place can be staggering so ensure that you keep learning and investing in yourself to ensure your skills are in demand. Maintain a long-term view on your career whilst ensuring you remain flexible enough to snap up opportunities as they arise. Be strategic about the projects and positions you pick and get involved in initiatives that expose you to new experiences and new people.
  4. Resilience and leadership
    Be confident in your achievements and your ability to lead. Whilst in the early stages of your career, make sure your leadership skills shine through in the projects you take on and deliver. Don’t be afraid to take risks and put yourself out there to be challenged by new experiences. This will build resilience and leadership skills early on which you’ll naturally begin to refine as you move through life and work.