The Future of Work

Jobs of the future are changing rapidly — creating new opportunities and obstacles. We need to change policies and practices so women can thrive in the next generation workforce.

Why It Matters

Not Your Mother's Workforce

The nature of work—what we do and how and where we do it—is constantly evolving. The pace of change will only accelerate in the years ahead, presenting new opportunities and challenges for the workforce as a whole, but especially for women.

Technological advances — particularly automation and artificial intelligence — will diminish demand for certain jobs: Though women make up less than half of the overall labor force, research suggests women are 58% of workers at highest risk of losing their jobs to technology. On the other hand, these changes will also increase the need for other roles, most significantly in the STEM fields, where women are vastly underrepresented.

New workplace models, such as telecommuting and gig economy, could allow for greater flexibility to enable workers to find a better job-life blend. But the downsides include greater competition for certain roles and, for gig workers, the lack of stable wages and benefits that full-time employment provides.

Finally, tomorrow’s workforce will be increasingly diverse, the byproduct of demographic shifts and a global economy. According to population analysis, by 2044 the full U.S. population will become “majority minority” — where the number of individuals who are multiracial and racial and ethnic minorities exceeds those of whites.

Moving Forward

For women to achieve economic parity in the years ahead, business leaders and policymakers must consider how the changing nature of work will affect men and women differently — and to make sure that risks and rewards are equitably distributed. Women cannot afford to be left behind.

Take Action

There are lots of ways to get involved with AAUW’s work to advance gender equity. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of women and girls.

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