Women are less optimistic than men about the future of their work, according to a 2018 survey by Clutch, a Washington, DC-based B2B research and reviews company. When asked how they view their future career prospects, more than a quarter (27 percent) of working women said they feel worried or neutral, compared to 20 percent of men.
But gender differences alone do not account for the difference. The survey suggests men are more optimistic about the future because they are more likely to have decision-making authority in their jobs. More than half of the men surveyed (53 percent) were business owners or managers, compared to only 32 percent of women.
Higher levels of authority correlate with higher levels of optimism. For example, over 90 percent of business owners and 80 percent of business managers say they are optimistic about their future career prospects, compared to 70 percent of employees who do not have decision-making authority.
In other findings, just 10 percent of the workers surveyed identify political issues, such as changing gender roles, as a factor that will impact the future of work. However, research shows that businesses which prioritize gender diversity tend to earn higher profits, build more successful work processes, and have more meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients. As such, companies should ensure their leadership pipeline includes men and women equally.
The survey also found that critical thinking skills—including problem-solving and adaptability—is the most prized skill to have in the future workforce. About 40 percent of workers ranked critical thinking the highest—three times more than digital/technical skills. Hiring managers agreed: they were nearly twice as likely to value problem-solving skills over digital/technical skills. Critical thinking skills are transferrable and thus more valuable for future career prospects.
Finally, the survey suggests companies that offer professional development training can help their employees build their skills—and their confidence. Read the full report at clutch.co/hr/resources/what-factors-impact-optimism-about-future-of-work. iBi