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Women and the future of work: challenges and opportunities


The rapid pace of change in the economy brought on by technological disruption over the last decade has been unprecedented and seems to be outstripping how fast people and businesses can keep up. It appears we are on the cusp of an even deeper technological shift with the growth of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and 5G -that will fundamentally alter the way we work, live and relate to one another as a society.

This profound transformation is taking place across the global economy and labor markets, will face unique disruption presenting significant challenges. Potentially leading to an estimated 375 million jobs being displaced by 2030 according to a Mckinsey Global Institute Report. Recent research by the World Economic Forum also suggests that the impact of the potential job displacement won’t be equal with Women facing the brunt of job losses due to economic and societal legacies. 

Roles such as administrative support or customer service positions which are historically filled by women will likely be phased out over the next 5-10 years.  "AI will increasingly replace repetitive jobs, not just for blue-collar work, but a lot of white-collar work," across all age groups, women could be displaced first due to the larger numbers of women in clerical or easily automated positions in different industries. 

Equality could become a victim of this technological revolution that will most likely exacerbate, the already large gender pay gap – as women struggle in the short term to adapt and acquire the skills necessary to compete in the workforce of tomorrow. 

Currently men outnumber women 8-1 in the tech sector – creating a deep skills gap in a sector of the economy, that will provide career opportunities and high paying jobs for years to come.

Despite the potential for significant disruption the future also offers huge opportunities for women and society as a whole as machines take on more cognitive tasks. Society may start putting greater value on work that needs more emotional intelligence and empathy for example, which are skills traditionally more associated with women. 

Our team at Half the sky will be putting together a short report outlining the main challenges to employability in the future of work. Highlighting what skills and abilities workers will need to aquire to stay ahead and how can organisations transform to enable greater female participation across all levels of an organisation.

I want to get your views: on what can be done to prepare all talents for the future of work!

Sign up to gain access to the full report. 

About half the sky

half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women in Asia. We connect women to career opportunities at companies that care. We also want to equip you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the workplace today and the future.

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