I was researching the future of work along with my colleagues Enric Gili and David Ludlow recently. While on that assignment, I ran into some interesting statistics about the workforce in the US. In 2009, for the first time in American history, the percentage of women in the workforce tipped in favor of women. In 2011, women held 51.4 percent of managerial and professional jobs, up from 26.1 percent in 1980. These statistics caught my attention and I decided to dig a bit deeper into it. That is when I ran into the projected male-female college graduate ratio in the US.
This made it even more interesting and I looked for a detailed study of this significant change that is approaching fast. That is when I discovered the book, The End Of Men and The Rise Of Women, by Hanna Rosin. If you are in the human capital management business, I highly recommend this book.
After a couple of weeks of mulling over what this means for the human capital management business, and talking to a few female colleagues, I realized that women are going to make up a majority of the white collar workforce by 2020. Technological advances and social changes have made women less dependent on a man. This is going to lead to several single mother households. At the same time fertility in the US in coming back. Parents are getting old and typically women act as care givers for parents and in-laws. This means that women are going to be running our businesses, taking care of children and caring for elders, all at the same time.
I concluded that the least we in the enterprise software business can do is to make simple tools that help such women get their job done with as minimum fuss as possible, even when they are away from their desks, so that they can get on with more important things in life. Our business success might depend on it.