The ‘future of work’ is a topic of increasing focus for governments, industry, the education sector and communities across the world. Organisations are preparing for and managing changes that are disrupting how we live and work. These changes include rapid advances in technology, social and demographic shifts, and increasing consumer, citizen and stakeholder expectations.
As leaders focused on gender equality, we see the future of work as a turning point. It is an opportunity to harness the disruption underway to intentionally challenge and transform the structures that perpetuate gender inequality.
We have made significant progress towards gender equality in Australia. Yet women are still under-represented in leadership positions and over-represented in lower-paid sectors of employment. The overall gender pay gap remains unacceptably high; and the unequal sharing of caring and domestic responsibilities continue to limit women’s careers. Some groups of women experience greater marginalisation, and even lower rates of workforce participation. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, women with disability and those in regional, rural and remote areas.
In a tech-driven era, there is an increasing demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills in our workforce. Yet women comprise as little as 13% of undergraduates in STEM fields such as IT and engineering. This imbalance has the potential to cast a long shadow over future STEM job and leadership opportunities for women.
We do not want to further replicate or indeed exacerbate disadvantage for future generations.
To influence and intervene in our fast-moving environment, we need to start by asking the right questions and experiment with bold new approaches, building on our success to date and tailored to the way in which our organisations are experiencing change. By doing so, we can play our part in creating a gender equal future for generations to come.
In this discussion guide, we share our approach to understanding opportunities for gender equality in the future workforce. We invite you to join us in advancing bold, disruptive action in our efforts to achieve gender equality in our workplaces.