OGDEN -- In the years ahead, employers will become more likely to pay women a wage as high as their male peers, more likely to tolerate flexible schedules if workers are doing a good job and less likely to prejudge employees by their race, predicts Zions Bank's senior vice president of communications.
That's the good news, Chris Redgrave told a student at Weber State University last week.
The bad news, at least for baby boomers and Generation Xers: Most of that will happen when the next generation gains power in the workplace.
And that generation, which included most young members of Redgrave's audience, is the Millennials.
"You know what they say," Redgrave said. "In order to see change, a generation has to die off."
Or at least they must age out of the power positions in the workplace.
Redgrave said generational differences and values are a result of the world we grew up in.
* Baby boomers, born from 1946 through 1964, grew up in a prosperous economy with an emphasis on suburban spread and with interests including rock 'n' roll and drugs.
Boomers were raised by parents with strong memories of World War II and experienced the Great Society reforms, moves enacted by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson and fellow Democrats to address and eliminate poverty and racial injustice.
* Gen Xers, born from 1965 through 1976, grew up in a time of divorce, AIDS, MTV, Game Boys, crack cocaine and personal communication, Redgrave said.
* And Millennials, born from 1980 through the 2000s, are the second-largest generation to exist on Earth, after the boomers, Redgrave said. Millennials grew up with the Internet, 9/11 and indulgent parents.
"You are confident, connected and adaptable," Redgrave told her audience. "You are digital natives, unlike any generation before.
"You come from the first baby-centric generation," she said, adding that children of earlier generations grew up under some degree of the mandate that children should be seen and not heard.
Redgrave said according to research she has read, 84 percent of Millennials feel a high degree of global responsibility and 40 percent plan to live and work in major cities around the world.
And 40 percent of Millennials ages 18 and older are minorities, Redgrave said.
"You do not see color," she said. "When researchers put students in a group and afterward asked about the racial mix of the group, Millennials told them (researchers) that they were racist."
Millennials are good team workers and networkers, and have strong communication skills, Redgrave said. They are the most educated generation yet, have a liberal political outlook, are very cause-oriented, accept and expect diversity in the workplace, are positive and optimistic, and value love and happiness over power.
"Boomers wanted power and money," Redgrave said. "Millennials want love and happiness."
Currently in the United States, women earn 77 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts, Redgrave said.
And Utah is 49th in the nation, with women earning just 69 cents for each dollar their male peers earn.
"That's $600,000 to $2 million in wages lost over a woman's working life," Redgrave said. "That's lost wealth for the woman and her family, and a benefit for the businesses that keep the money."
Redgrave said she believes women are less competitive in part because they play fewer sports as children.
"Boys spend 50 percent of their time competing," she said. "Girls spend 1 to 5 percent. Historically, girls played with dolls, and no one was the boss of doll-playing."
Historically, men are aware of their place in the office hierarchy and do what they are asked, Redgrave said, adding that women help everyone on their team, share their feelings and take turns talking.
"Men speak 7,000 words a day," Redgrave said. "Women speak 20,000."
Redgrave said that, according to research she has read, men in the workplace typically value pay, status and success, while women value affiliations, relationships, respect and getting along.
Redgrave shared an anecdote about two applicants of equal merit vying for a $55,000 job. The man asked for $90,000 and got $65,000. The woman asked for the $55,000 and got it.
Redgrave challenged her female listeners to hone their negotiation skills to help move their business world toward gender pay equity in the future.
And the Millennials could be the generation to accomplish it, she said.
Although 77 cents to the dollar is the median female-versus-male pay rate, older women tend to earn less than the 77 percent and younger women tend to earn more.
"Today's young females make 92 percent or better of what their male counterparts make," Redgrave said.
"They expect it, and they get it."