Navigating a Changing Workforce in the Woman’s Century


Following is an excerpt from “WOMEN LEAD – Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders”, Edited by Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, Courtney L. Vien, and Caroline Molina-Ray

Will the 21st century be the century of the woman? Consider these statistics:

  •  Women make up half the US workforce and hold 51.4 percent of all managerial and professional jobs and almost half of all banking and insurance jobs.
  • A woman starts a business every 60 seconds.
  • Forty-one percent of women in dual-earner households earn as much or more than their husbands or partners.
  • Fifty-seven percent of college students are now female. Women outpace men in earning master’s and doctoral degrees, and comprise 49 percent of medical students and 48 percent of law school graduates.
  • Companies with more women in leadership positions see higher profits, stock price growth, return to shareholders, and returns on equity, sales, and invested capital than companies with few women executives.
  • Studies show that female business leaders outperform men on a wide variety of leadership traits, including adaptability, innovation, people skills, and strategic drive.
  • Eighty-nine percent of Americans are comfortable with women as leaders, compared to 77 percent in 2002.
  • The percentage of women ages 25–34 with a bachelor’s degree has more than tripled since 1986, while the share of men in that cohort with a bachelor’s degree has grown by only half.
  • In 2008, women in dual-earner couples contributed 45 percent of annual family income—39% more than they did in 1997.
  • Between 1997 and 2011, the number of woman-owned businesses increased by 50 percent: 1.5 times the growth rate of businesses as a whole.
  • If US women-owned businesses were their own country, it would have the fifth-largest GDP in the world, ahead of France, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

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Tracey Wilen

Tracey Wilen

Dr. Tracey Wilen is a prominent thought leader on the impact of technology on society, work and careers. She’s been a scholar at Stanford University and has held leadership positions at Apple, HP, Cisco, and the Apollo Group. Dr. Wilen has authored 11 books including Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders (2013); Society 3.0: How Technology Is Reshaping Education, Work, and Society (2012); Employed for Life; 21st Century Career Trends (2014).She has appeared on CNN, Fox and CBS news, in The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. She frequently contributes to The Huffington Post, the Examiner, and the Christian Science Monitor and is on radio shows across the US weekly as an expert guest. She is a global speaker on the impact of technology on work careers, and women’s leadership. She was honored by the San Francisco Business Times as a 2012 Most Influential Woman in Bay Area Business.

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