With women being more likely to have taken a step back in their careers during the pandemic, I want to bring the focus back to women in the workplace by looking at the future, not at the past. So I’ve compiled a short list of growing trends for future female leaders. Check it out!
1. Women will thrive in the B2B sales arena
A sales statistics report by Xactly found that women outperformed men by 12% when achieving sales quota in 2019. Because so much more information is available to buyers these days, fewer people are relying on salespeople to give them the information they need to make a decision.
Instead, salespeople are being valued for other attributes like teamwork, transparency and efficiency. The days of the slick-talking salesman are over, and styles focusing on transparency and candour, traditionally favoured by women, are taking over. Women that perform at the top of the sales ladder tend to focus on the long term when it comes to client relations: building trusting rapports, establishing friendships, and working with their buyers to achieve optimal results.
Women have been conducting business like this forever. Now, it’s time for us to lead from the front and set the example.
2. Middle-aged women are taking charge
Finally, the advocacy and restructuring work done by diversity specialists is paying off. We’ve been seeing a steady rise in upwards mobility for women in business over the last decade. The work is, of course, far from complete, but the trend of middle-aged women resuming their careers after raising children isn’t going away any time soon.
Organisations are already switching up the way they evaluate employees, by removing gender from the equation. As a result, women are more likely than ever to be solely judged on their performance and proven work ethic when being considered for promotion.
Furthermore, the idea of returning to work after raising a family is becoming an option for more and more women. Those who decide to take a career break can now do so without fear that they’ll be permanently squeezed out and left behind.
That being said, if you do choose to take time off, make sure you stay up to date with your industry during this time. It's wonderful to see more women re-joining the workforce later in life, but that’ll only make it more competitive. Social media networks are a great way to keep up with your industry’s latest trends, so you can hit the ground running when you’re ready to get back to work.
3. More women will become entrepreneurs
A report conducted by American Express concluded that the second half of the last decade saw the amount of businesses owned by women rise by 21%, which is pretty impressive considering that the number of businesses in general only rose by 9%.
Improvements in gender equality have led to marketing experts recognising a gap in access for women to educational resources targeted at female entrepreneurs.
Previous generations lacked a cohort of strong female mentors from which new business owners could draw inspiration and advice. Now there exists a global community of leading women, engaging in mentoring, guiding, and setting up courses to support other women wishing to start businesses.
So, whether you’re a solopreneur who wants to be her own boss, or you’re just looking to start a small side-hustle, the resources are out there and readily available. What’s more, they’re made for women by women.
4. Careers in STEM will skyrocket
Management within STEM has already seen a great uptake in women leaders, but the business sector isn’t far behind. STEM industries are gunning to recruit more women, but right now there’s a lag due to a lack of women signing up for STEM subjects in school.
Girls and young women still regard science, tech, engineering and mathematics as male dominated fields, so even if they know they could be highly capable within a STEM career, they either don’t choose this path so as to avoid working in a male-heavy environment, or they believe that their talents in other fields, such as the arts or humanities, would be better appreciated.
The days of the slick-talking salesman are over, and styles focusing on transparency and candour, traditionally favoured by women, are taking over.
Impressionable young women have been victims of this gender-based social conditioning for too long, and while it’s great to see more businesses encouraging women to choose the STEM path, their attention would be better directed at younger audiences.
Perhaps there’s something you could do, as a woman in business, to inspire young girls. Start small by sharing your achievements with a friend or a relative, or offer support to those thinking about the future.
The future of STEM can be female, but we’re not there yet.
Madeleine Green is a freelance writer and an intern for The Industry Leaders. She graduated from university in 2020 with a degree in education, and her interests include sociology, literature and current affairs. Connect with Madeleine on LinkedIn.
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