Daily Archives: April 18, 2011

new age of work … the woman’s world


“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.”  ~Paula Poundstone

The waves of change are showing up in the demographics of work.

In a recent TED presentation Hannah Rosin explains a trend that is more than just emerging in the world of work.  Women are beginning to dominate work.

Tom Peter’s has predicted for years that rise of women in the new economy was just a matter of time.   A recent Atlantic Monthly (July-Aug 2010) article describes the shift that is occuring in the world of work.

“The End of Men: How Women Are Taking Control—Of Everything”
Opening lines/précis:

“Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, post-industrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now underway—and its vast cultural consequences.”

“Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But for the first time in human history, that is changing—and with shocking speed.”

[There are examples from around the world not just U.S. In the likes of Korea, desire for a child to be a girl is soaring.] [In the USA, efforts to improve the odds of conceiving a girl rather than a boy are now commonplace.]

“As thinking and communicating have come to eclipse physical strength and stamina as the keys to economic success, those societies that take advantage of the talents of all their adults, not just half of them, have pulled away from the rest.”

“The evidence is all around you [e.g.] in the wreckage of the Great Recession, in which three-quarters of the eight million jobs lost were lost by men. The worst-hit industries were overwhelmingly male and deeply identified with macho: construction, manufacturing, high finance.”

“Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are occupied primarily by women.”

“Women hold 51.4% of managerial and professional jobs—up from 26.1% in 1980. … In 1970, women contributed 2 to 6 percent of the family income. Now the typical working wife brings home 42.2%—and four in 10 mothers are the primary breadwinners in their family.”

“What’s clear is that schools, like the economy, now value the self-control, focus and verbal aptitude that seem to come more easily to young girls.”

“Increasing numbers of women—unable to find men with similar income and education—are forgoing marriage altogether. In 1970, 84% of women ages 30 to 44 were married; now 60% are.”

The new economy which is more “service” oriented rather than brute labor based is well suited for the characteristics that women bring to the workforce.   Women are natural networkers, and connectors which are critical skills to have.  Management concepts from the 1800’s are now giving way to more powerful forms of leadership.  

Communication, collaboration, listening and understanding – greater skills in connecting, will those be the lingua franca of this new age?  What do you think?