Today’s world has a lot going for it, in terms of gender equality in the professional field. Recruiters and employers are equally concerned with women’s standings on the job market and make it seem that they are pulling all the stops, in order to resolve the current challenges for female professionals. These challenges, which have undergone a major shift over the past several years, have come to include change on the job, development, the challenges of leadership, looking for a new job, interviewing, and so on.
A recent one-day seminar delivered by Forbes contributor Kathy Caprino before LinkedIn’s Connect Group for professional women brought all these issues (and several others) to media attention once more. This is why in today’s post, we’re also choosing to focus on the five top challenges for female professionals that today’s job market poses.
1. Women feel stuck
This is not to say that professional males don’t experience the feeling of monotony on the job. However, the women who took part in the conference delivered by Caprino strongly expressed feeling stuck doing jobs they dislike. The problem with this item on the list of challenges for female professionals is that the educational level disparity between women and men still persists on today’s job market. In most parts of the western world, women are receiving higher learning and some countries even display higher rates of women graduates at university level. However, globally speaking, more women experience the inability of switching career tracks because of their insufficient education, rather than men.
2. Being taken seriously is one of the challenges for female professionals
Being taken seriously of course translates as getting ahead and being promoted. Numerous female professionals are experiencing dissatisfaction with their advancement in traditionally male-dominated fields, such as entrepreneurship or hard industries. This comes as irrefutable proof that, while sexism has been somewhat assuaged, it lives on and manifests itself as putting female professionals with merits in the proverbial corner.
3. Women feel confused about their professional goals
In the dynamic day and age of the third millennium, industries are being reinvented and the workforce paradigm is shifting. More and more white-collar workers are now active in industries that didn’t even exist a decade ago. However, this change is largely male-driven, which makes it difficult for women to figure out just what their professional goals are. As one participant to the conference expressed this bullet on the list of challenges for female professionals: “I know what I don’t want, but have no clue what I do want in my career going forward.”
4. Female professionals are faced with the threat of ageism
Ageism on the labor market affects both men and women to a large extent. There are countless sob stories around, in most parts of the world, which speak of middle-aged professionals’ reduced odds at gainful, satisfactory employment in a field they are actually interested in. However, the situation is further complicated for women by the existence of several industries in which they are prominently represented (acting, teaching, the fashion industry), but which are also heavily influenced by the pressure of age. Numerous women past the age of 45 feel that their career options past that major age threshold simply evaporate, leaving them with no other variant then to trudge forward in their current employment field of choice. At the same time, this painful conclusion draws attention to the increasing demand for professional qualification and training courses for older workers, be they male or female.
5. Many female professionals have difficulties with being assertive
This issue is also conditioned by the gender bias and reflects the current state of the world, in terms of the difference between men and women. On the one hand, more and more women are rising through the ranks of the professional hierarchy in their respective lines of work. On the other, however, an increasing number of female professionals feel they lack the social skill of assertion. Obviously, this ties in with the fact that women have thus far been historically ‘programmed’ not to speak up, lest they be considered less feminine, appealing, and desirable. The time has clearly come to do away with this outdated belief and start countering its effects in the real world by teaching women that it is more than all right to speak up for what is rightfully theirs.