Women have the soft skills advantage to succeed in the AI ​​era and break the glass ceiling

After making significant progress in recent years, women are beginning to see their climb up the corporate ladder stalled by a still very apparent glass ceiling, new LinkedIn research shows.

The social media platform found that the proportion of women hired for leadership roles in the UK increased from 31.6% in 2016 to 37.8% in 2022.

However, the bullish momentum has stalled in the last two years. By 2024, the proportion of women hired for leadership positions had fallen to 37.1%.

Ireland is the only European country assessed by LinkedIn where this proportion increased last year. But globally, the trend in recent years has been downward.

I would suggest that easy victories have been achieved for workplace diversity, and that parity will require either marginal gains or a major workplace revolution. It also highlights the harsh reality that women face during economic crises.

“LinkedIn data shows that the marginal progress made in recent years in getting women into leadership roles is eroding, as women pay the price of a cooling economy,” said Sue Duke, vice president of global public policy and economic charts from LinkedIn.

“The result? Female representation at the leadership level has increased less than 1% in six years.”

There are also long-term barriers that hinder progress as a woman’s career progresses, with maternity care being the main culprit.

These barriers have proven difficult to completely break down. In fact, they are so pervasive that Gen Z women are unlikely to close the gender pay gap before they retire.

“Gender pay parity remains out of sight for a 21-year-old woman entering the workforce today and analysis suggests it will take more than 45 years to close the gender pay gap in the UK,” they write the authors of a June PwC report on the pay gap wrote.

AI Transformation

However, LinkedIn data would suggest there is hope for women in the AI ​​revolution, in an optimistic view of the technology that often comes with apocalyptic calls.

The platform predicts that the typical skills required for jobs globally will change by 68% from what they are now by 2030.

According to the report’s authors, the soft interpersonal characteristics of those skills, such as leadership and collaboration, are overwhelmingly possessed by women. On LinkedIn, women have 28% more social skills than men.

While it is a positive outlook on AI’s ability to impact gender dynamics, women will need to be on guard against its negative effects. LinkedIn’s Duke notes that men make up the majority of AI talent. Studies have shown that women are also at greater risk than men due to technology.

“Opportunities for women to advance their careers will disappear unless employers consider gender when upskilling to ensure the workplace is transformed in a fair and equitable way.”

Other readings

UK Gen Z women are unlikely to close the gender pay gap before they retire, according to PwC research

Only 5% of the top skills candidates need today will be the same three years from now, says McKinsey: “Companies are not going to find perfect unicorns”

Single women barely get by: stifled by wage gap and inflation, they struggle to build wealth or emergency savings

Subscribe to the Eye on AI newsletter to stay up to date on how AI is shaping the future of business. Sign up free.

Leave a Comment