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Understanding Female Talent in Emerging BRIC Markets

January 31, 2012 12:30 by Ann Pace

(From Bloomberg.com) -- Julia Jia was the first girl from her small village in Shandong Province to go to university. Now 30, she works for Louis Vuitton China's retail department and would like to have a career in luxury goods, perhaps in sales development or public relations. "Of course, I want to be in top management," Jia says, echoing the high-flying aspirations that have catapulted so many Chinese women into the business elite. Then in a seeming contradiction, she adds that she worries about work/life balance. "I would feel frustrated working 60 to 70 hours a week," she confesses. "If there were a conflict with taking care of my children or elders, I would give up my career."

Jia's attitude astonishes colleagues in their 40s and 50s. As the first university graduates to emerge from Communism to a newly developing China in the 1980s and 90s, those women didn't hesitate to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to their careers. But according to data from the Center for Talent Innovation (formerly the Center for Work-Life Policy), today's younger generation is different. "The mindset has really changed," notes an HR manager for a major multinational corporation. "Women now talk about facials and traveling and all the things that the older generation didn't think about until they were more established."

The next generation of global leaders will differ in fundamental ways from the people now heading up countries and corporations. Our research into female talent in emerging markets concludes that many will be women: Just as in the United States, where women college graduates now outnumber men, women are flooding into universities and graduate schools in Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRIC markets), accounting for 60% of students enrolled in tertiary education in Brazil, 57% in Russia, and 47% in China.

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