What’s Next for Women and Work? Beyond the 9to5
Updated: Aug 11, 2020
An interview from the field
Are you ready for what’s coming next? Having trouble keeping track of the many changes in the current workforce? One of Evolve’s core values is embracing change. In our work with women undergoing career transition, we equate change with opportunity.
In the current global health crisis, our economic and social lives have gone through a dramatic upheaval. How do we set ourselves up for our next career move with so much uncertainty? How can we think about the flip-side of this disruption? We need to focus on the possibilities.
"Try On" the Future of Work
Moving to a remote work culture, economic challenges for small businesses, increasing unemployment, furloughed workers....what do these changes mean for women’s careers? What aspects of today’s work culture do we want to bring into the future? What industries and roles are poised to respond to the emerging new normal? Will flexible, remote, freelance and contingent work become business as usual?
Evolve had the pleasure of interviewing our colleagues, the leaders and recruitment experts of Pride Global, a staffing and talent solutions firm, and it’s women’s affinity group, Pride Lioness, to hear current thinking on these questions and more. The following is an excerpt from an article Evolve and Pride Global co-authored, Beyond the 9to5: The Future of (Post) Pandemic Work.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to a woman in mid-career who is thinking about a new career direction right now? Tell us what you think her first step should be.
It’s never an easy time to take your career in a different direction, and now that we seem to be heading into a (hopefully short) recession, it’s not going to be easier.
As a first step, my advice would be to ask as many people as you can think of to give you some time for an “informational interview.”
Friends, former colleagues, college acquaintances, friends of friends…cast a wide net. Make it clear that your only goal is to learn from them. You’re not asking for a job at this point.
Talk to people in the field you’d like to get into, and talk to people who are successful in completely different areas.
Ask them about their path. Where did they start, and how did they get where they are? What was helpful to them? Do they like to do the job they have now? Where do they think their industry is going? You’d be surprised how easy it can be to get people to talk about themselves!
And only after letting them talk about themselves, you can ask for advice.
I found when I was at a turning point in my career, the help I received came from completely unexpected directions, and the more people you talk to, the better your chances are for figuring out the key to unlocking that next step. Persistence (without being a pest) is your best ally.
-Kate Goss, Managing Director, Pride Global
There is a lot of discussion about the future of work. With so many people working having experienced remotely and flexible work, it seems that companies that can offer contingent or contract work in the future will be attractive to prospective employees. What industries do you project to be suitable for this type of workforce?
"Being a nimble and flexible industry is becoming more and more popular given the COVID-19 crisis. And I think that there are several industries that will look to leverage a more flexible
workforce in the future moving forward after society heads back to its normal routine.”
The Technology industry continues to boom, and I think will continue to be a leader in this space, especially in areas they may not have previously allowed to work remotely in the past. During the COVID-19 crisis, many folks have begun to offer their services online.
One industry in particular that has done this well and I think could continue to do so in the future is Coaching and Counseling (health/wellness, financial, mental health, etc). There is a lot of freedom and flexibility like being able to choose your client load and the hours you’ll take appointments, among other aspects.
I also foresee the Creative industry (marketing, design, writers, etc.) being a great space for remote workers, in addition to Healthcare, Customer Service, Education, Administrative Services, and HR.
—Danielle Rangitsch | Senior Senior Associate, Client Engagement,
Russell Tobin Lioness "PR + Marketing"Committee
Look into your crystal ball with us. How do you see virtual project-based work being integrated into our post pandemic lives?
"I think this forced working from home situation has pushed many companies outside their comfort zones and has proven beyond expectations what is possible when working remotely”.
For some, productivity isn’t just at a normal level, but is actually higher. In order to allow people to work in this environment, employers had to change processes and make decisions much quicker and less bureaucratically than they have been used to. And I believe this enforced change in approach will have long lasting positive effects.
In many cases, those who have been able to work from home have taken on additional or different duties, broadening their own skill sets, which could be beneficial for future projects.
There will be many critical projects required as businesses adapt to the new working world and as the economy starts to slowly pick up again, employers may be hesitant to make long term hiring investments.
Companies experiencing growth may also see the benefit of keeping overheads low by investing less in corporate office space by having remote employees.
I believe this will increase the opportunity for remote projects to be undertaken and increase opportunities, particularly for women seeking some flexibility in their employment engagements.
The recruiting and contingent workforce industries have long been utilizers of a remote and flexible workforce, which has in fact become essential in order to manage the peaks and troughs in hiring cycles. I look forward to this becoming the case in many other areas of business."
— Rosie Johnson | Senior Director – R4People & RPO, Russell Tobin |
Pride in Education Lioness "Community Outreach" Committee
Do you think this new norm will be good for women’s careers?
"The post pandemic life will be a whole new norm for all of us, especially women in the workforce. As someone who is working with contingent labor day in and day out throughout this pandemic, we see technology being used in so many new and unique ways.”
I foresee virtual project-based work being used even more in the future after this pandemic is over, as companies may cut back on real estate costs by having more employees remote and less traveling into the office.
And if the trend of WFH continues post pandemic, I feel that women, specifically mothers, will be the ones to jump on those opportunities first as many would like to be home with their children and families and capable of performing their job duties remotely."
— Jenna Wolchock | Program Manager,
PrideOne Lioness "X, Y, Z Policies" Committee
So, how can you prepare for new flexible work opportunities?
“Not sure what skills to work on? Think about someone you admire in the field you want to be in. What do they have that you don’t? Is it an ability to solve math or coding problems? Are they an expert in statistics or a master in software? Maybe it’s their customer service or their leadership and communication skills. This might help you identify the skills you need to hone to take advantage of that next opportunity."
Create a compelling resume, know how to articulate your experience at an interview (via video), and learn the skills you need to excel within your desired field.
Set aside some regular time each day to focus on learning and improving your skills. We’re entering a new employment market where more candidates are competing, so focus on building your knowledge, expertise, and vocabulary to help your profile stand out. There are a plethora of learning resources available online: coding, math, marketing, and the specific skills they need including Software Engineering, Data Science, and UX Design.
Whether it’s refining your interview skills, reading more books or online courses, set a realistic goal for yourself and do a little bit each day. This will help you take advantage of the opportunities you want when they arise.
— Collette Meyers | Director, Strategic Accounts,
Russell Tobin Lioness "Partnerships" Committee
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