With 44% of today’s Canadian workforce being females, women have become far more involved in workplaces than ever. This has been especially true in the second half of the 20th century and beyond. In fact, the participation of females in the workplace account for one of the most substantial changes to the Canadian labour market. As social norms regarding gender roles evolve, and newer technologies are developed, the future looks bright for female professionals. As such, some significant trends are predicted to arise in the coming decades, which reputable sources like Forbes hypothesize will also be of heavy importance to the female workforce.
The Future is Balanced
In the future, work-life balance will be of utmost importance. The pandemic has truly taught all the significance of family. The top priority in life will not be career advancement, but self-growth and family time. Juggling household responsibilities, children, and jobs will be less of a guilt-ridden struggle, and more of a healthy balance.
The Future is Remote
Thanks to the era of COVID-19, the future will entail remote work opportunities. Mandatory office presences will be a thing of the past, and women will of course have the opportunity to reap the benefits and take advantage of this option. Furthermore, this will allow for employees to cross local borders through virtual means, creating new employment opportunities for women in areas otherwise not exposed to such access.
The Future is Flexible
Gone will be the days when the woman is questioned for attending a parent-teacher meeting for her child, but the man is not. Currently, women do spend more time on household responsibilities than men. Though that is changing, the option of flexible timings will ease the difficulties of females, especially those that are mothers. The 9-5 will not be a rigid phenomenon, set in stone. Employees will be much more likely to offer flexibility rather than taking on the risk of losing valuable female talent.
The Future is Authentic
Considered the “beauty tax”, prevalent is the idea that women, in order to look “presentable” before walking out into the world, have to spend extra time, money, and effort. On one hand, research suggests women who take more care in their appearance earn higher incomes. On the other hand, conventionally attractive women are seen as less capable or less qualified for their positions. In the future, authenticity will be of utmost importance, and women will be able to bring their whole selves to work and be true to themselves. Sexist conduct and attention for appearance-related characteristics will decrease.
The Future is Entrepreneurial
The number of women-owned enterprises has been increasing both nationally and internationally. Driven by a desire to have more control over their careers, females will feel empowered to tap into the freedom, creativity, flexibility, and fulfillment that comes with building and running one’s own businesses.
The Future is Automated
As McKinsey & Company puts it, technological advancements and automations are bound to replace certain jobs. That said, women are expected to be slightly less impacted than men in regards to this trend. Machine operators are more likely to be replaced by automation, and women make up less of this workforce portion. That said, technological disruptions will still impact women, especially those that carry out routine work tasks. Therefore, females will need to be skilled, mobile, and tech savvy to adapt to the new world of work.
The Future is Empowered
As cultural policies are strengthened in workplaces and fair procedures are implemented, women will feel more empowered to report and bring into the limelight any harassment and/or microaggressions at work. Pay disparity will be addressed and the grass ceiling is already beginning to crack. As women explore more opportunities in accessing management positions, they will also appreciate ways to develop the skills that will help them adapt to workforce changes.
A brighter future is not only possible for females in the workplace, but probable. Affirmed by Deloitte, as competition for talent continues to intensify, those businesses that act first stand to attract the next generation of women leaders, and will make the biggest gains. Companies will benefit from learning from those who are leading the way in creating a better, more equitable future. Ambitious and hardworking, the inclusive and empathetic qualities of successful female professionals will create better workplaces for all, propelled by work that is less prone to burnout and more meaningful in nature.