The jobs women want
More and more roles are being filled by female employees, reports Hannah Silverman.
WOMEN are favouring new-age roles in social media and organisational management, driven by an industry need to regroup and promote following the financial crisis.
Recruitment firms provided CareerOne with a list of the jobs women want in 2010. They found the financial crisis had led to an increasing interest from employers for management positions to change the workplace strategy and culture.
At present, jobs in marketing, consultancy and management are highly sought after while faithful roles in accounts, administration and retail remain on the recruitment radar.
Talent2 team leader Ruth Morgan says that as industries recover from the effects of the financial crisis, new interest in jobs in management and promotion is emerging. These are roles typically favoured by women.
‘‘I guess the main element within a role that women look at is project management, or project-oriented roles. . . Coming out of the GFC, there is massive transition and restructuring, so there is a big demand for people to come in and lead those projects,’’ she says.
Excel Recruitment general manager Pam Hewett says companies are now looking at the bigger picture and want a competitive edge.
‘‘Organisational development and project managers were kind of in organisations as floaters in a few different things like change management. Under the GFC, they sort of went and now they are coming back,’’ she says.
FROM apron-clad housewives to executives who pocket in excess of $150,000-plus a year, women have travelled a long way down the career path.
Today’s career women are working in a diverse range of professions and industries, including those once dominated by men, such as law, accounting and the media.
They sit on executive boards, run corporate businesses and in many cases do so while performing the work, life, family juggling act.
The appointment of Australia’s first female prime minister last month also heralded another new age for career-minded women.
But while women are a far cry from the sexist restrictions that plagued them until the late 1900s, they are still fighting workforce demons. A federal parliamentary inquiry last year found that with $1032 a week, women nationally were paid 17 per cent less than the average man’s wage of $1244.10.
In South Australia, they are paid 13.9 per cent less than men.
It also revealed that in some industries including finance and insurance, women were earning up to 32 per cent less.
This month’s Australian Bureau of Statistics figures shows the number of women in full-time employment has increased from 124,900 to 184,700 in the past 30 years, but they still only make up 34 per cent of the state’s full-time employees.
Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Anne Burgess says women are ‘‘ significantly under- represented’’ in our workforce. ‘‘Through the commission’s training programs for business, we have found that those with flexible work arrangements, sound recruitment practices and who tackle stereotypes attract and retain the best people,’’ she says.
Analysis by the Women on Boards group released in December found there was just one female director, Jenny Hill-Ling, of Hills Industries, out of 50 on the boards of the seven ASX200 companies headquartered in SA. At only 2 per cent, this represented the lowest percentage in the country.
Women on Boards executive director Claire Braund says the gender gap is still prevalent in the Australian workforce.
‘‘One of the greatest challenges for women in today’s workforce is combating their own and others’ perceptions that gender is no longer an issue and that the playing field is level,’’ she says.
‘‘There is just too much hard statistical evidence that it isn’t.’’
Business SA chief executive Peter Vaughan says men dominate executive positions and were therefore paid more on average.
‘‘You’ll find men are paid on average a greater salary figure in total and that’s because there are so many more of them, and that’s the problem, making sure that women have the opportunity to break through the glass ceiling in a workforce which wants skilled women but hasn’t yet come to grips with the fact that women bear
children,’’ he says. ‘‘That’s an area that needs considerable work.
‘‘The latest parental leave legislation is a step in the right direction but we do need to have far more family-friendly workplaces if we’re going to see women bridge the gap, particularly in the managerial and executive end.’’
When it comes to university studies, 61.5 per cent of those enrolled for 2010 study in South Australia were female, figures from South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre show.
Norman Waterhouse Lawyers partner Alison Adair, who is a member of the Premier’s Council for Women, has during the years worked part-time and remotely from home. She is married with three sons aged 11, 13 and 16.
‘‘Fifty years ago, there were fewer women in the workforce and generally in more supportive or clerical roles and unskilled jobs,’’ she says. ‘‘Now, while there is still a preponderance of women in lowerpaid unskilled jobs, there are more opportunities for management and leadership roles.
‘‘Also, one of the significant differences is that 50 years ago, if a woman married she was generally expected to leave the workforce and some employers refused to employ married women.’’
But hurdles are still clearly prevalent, and those who chose to jump them are finding women aren’t on easy street yet.
‘‘The reality is that women are getting education and training and young women are being employed,’’ she says. ‘‘However, in their 30s women are still finding they have to make choices in regard to having a family and the workplace often remains inflexible.
‘‘So they either find it difficult to return to work or do so part-time or in a reduced position on a lower salary and with less opportunity for promotion.’’
Ms Adair says without a flexible workplace, women will struggle to balance work and family.
BALANCING ACT: Bronwyn Klei with daughters Kennedy and Mackenzie .
Flinders University online content co-ordinator Timea Kovacs.