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Women Professionals – NOW is the Time to Get Ahead in Your Career! While the future of professionals in general looks bright, the women professionals seem to be at high risk of being globally displaced due to this skill gap

By Sujatha Kumaraswamy

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7 of the 10 fastest growing jobs in India (according to LinkedIn) and 5 of the 10 fastest growing careers in the US (Bureau of Labor Statistics, US) are in areas which either didn't exist at all or existed only in university labs 15 years ago. For instance, jobs like a Data Scientist, Machine Learning Engineer, Solar Photovoltaic installers and Wind turbine technicians were almost non-existent

The next industrial revolution is going to be driven by soft skills, data, climate/energy/resource challenges and the cheap and ubiquitous availability of computing capacity. This revolution will induce a massive skill-gap. Professionals and graduates alike will need to quickly understand the urgency of picking up the latest industry-relevant skills to be on top of their game.
There's every reason however for professionals to be excited about the future because some exciting opportunities lie in wait. Over 70per cent of Indian Companies will adopt AI Solutions before 2020 and close to 2,00,000 analytics jobs will be created by 2020.

While the future of professionals in general looks bright, the women professionals seem to be at high risk of being globally displaced due to this skill gap.
Let's find out what is happening on a global scale and what can be done to solve this conundrum.

The High Risk Alert: What do the Alarm Bells Signify?
Based on an IMF study, 180 million jobs for women (across 30 countries) are at high risk of being displaced globally due to new technologies like automation; which means the overall participation of women in the global workforce is going to decrease significantly. In India, 3 out of 4 women do not work (just 25per cent participation), and women's labour force participation has fallen alarmingly from 36per cent to 25per cent in the last decade. What's puzzling about these facts is that they stand in contrast with graduation rates and school performance, where women continue to do well.

As per the Routine Task Intensity (RTI) index in the IMF Report, women conduct more routine tasks than men; which indicates that our education system is training people (particularly women) for an outdated industry. The RTI index, on average, is 13 per cent higher for women professionals across 30 countries.
Also, women professionals perform fewer tasks requiring analytical and interpersonal skills and more tasks which are characterized by greater repetitiveness. What this implies is that women are at a higher risk and are more exposed to automation than men.

But automation is just one part of the problem. Women continue to face problems such as gender-pay parity, issues related to maternity leaves and more. As you can see below, India ranks shockingly low in terms of the gender-pay parity on a global scale.

Source: Business Today

What then is the solution required to solve this problem? There is one…which is "upskilling".

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Women professionals can rise up to the challenge by picking up the most trending and in-demand skills, and of course, adopting the practice of continuous learning.

This is precisely where assessment and training partners can step in and empower the women of our country. By assessing the women professionals and helping them upskill and reskill through our industry-certifications & course programs for businesses, we hope to enable women to be ready for the roles of the future.

Also, while upskilling is a crucial aspect, it needs to be supported by governmental and corporate initiatives, and incentives around disseminating skills for women starting at the school level. A large-scale program at the national level championed by the Central Government can really help the cause and help improve women's participation in our workforce. In addition, encouraging entrepreneurship among senior and experienced women by setting up incubation centres will go a long way towards giving women the belief needed to succeed.

Lastly, ecosystem-level support structures through mandating schemes like crèches, work from home policies and mentorship programs can help women professionals immensely.

The future looks bright

All in all, the future is full of exciting opportunities for working women. However, women graduate and professionals must take the initiative to upskill, companies must extend a hand of support by promoting upskilling initiatives and training centres for their existing workforce and the government should provide policy and ecosystem level support to eliminate constraints women face in joining and staying on in the workforce.

In the hope that the women professionals in our country get inspired, as Ayn Rand famously quoted:

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."

Sujatha Kumaraswamy

Head – Delivery, Compliance and Government Sales at MeritTrac

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