Workforce Trends: Women Are Leaving the Corporate World and Becoming Your Competition

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gender-gapThe second demographic trend affecting the Workforce of Tomorrow is the flood of women leaving their jobs in mid-career. Take a look at this infographic about women in the workforce for a good dose of reality.

Whether it’s law, technology, administration, or management, Gen X women (born between 1965-1980) are voting with their feet. They are leaving their jobs because they’ve decided that they do can better by consulting or by creating start-ups.

Why are women doing that? Because women are only 19% of the C-suite executives. Now, if you’re comparing 19% to zero, which is the percent of C-suite women in the 1950s, that’s not so bad.

But if you compare it to the expectations of today’s younger women, that number is very low!

After all, according to the 2010 Census, today’s young women are:

  • Just as likely as men to hold bachelors’ degrees
  • 50% more likely to have a graduate degrees and
  • More than 40% of women are now their families’ main breadwinners

These are not women who lack ambition yet they’re still paid three-quarters of what their male colleagues make. You can see why this trend of women leaving corporate life to consult is just going to accelerate.

So in a sense, organizations are training their competition. Right now, there are 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., and that number is growing 50% faster than new business growth overall.

In the past, those would have been pretty small companies. But today, there’s a big surge of angel investing by and for women.  And since wealthy American women now control almost $6 trillion dollars in assets, this is going to be a real game changer.


Now let’s find out what my client, a Fortune 100, multi-national company, is doing to prepare for the changing workforce. This client is a very desirable company.  It’s a brand that lots of people want to work for.  And this company is not having a talent problem right now.

But the SVP HR was worried — really worried — about future talent, because she sees the same demographic trends that we’ve talked about in this blog, in addition to the rise of the new majority, the impending Baby Boomer retirement and the incredible increase of temporary and contract workers. What is this company doing to stay ahead of these demographic changes?

First, they’re very aggressive in hiring young adults right out of college — not just in the U.S., but in Brazil, India, all over the world.

They’re looking for future executives who’ll understand their global consumers, and they want a future workforce that reflects the diversity of their consumers. After all, minorities are becoming the majority and that means the majority of consumers, clients and leaders in the workforce.

They’re also very aggressive in pursuing best practices.  They talk to everyone including Google, Facebook, and whoever they think understands what this new generation of workers wants.

So they’re pursuing an HR Solution — one that’s focused on finding and retaining the best talent they can get now, before the real need kicks in. There is a war for talent. And whatever edge you can find in that war, you probably want to find it pretty fast!


Note: Many of the statistics presented in this blog series have been pulled from Deloitte’s Human Capital consulting resources and The Gender Dividend report. If you have a question about any of the information in these blogs, please contact me.  

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1 Comment

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    April 9, 2013

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