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Women only occupy 25 percent of the top jobs in the US

Job Market: According to Study, AI is Detrimental for Women

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    While artificial intelligence brought hope to close the gender gap and offer better opportunities to women, it seems that it might widen disparities in the work place.

    A new study released by the United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that if women, especially in the Hispanic community, are not trained soon, more than 1.4 million could become “redundant” very soon.

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    While this particular community suffers from a lack of qualifications, low-skilled jobs are the most at risk. This means that a slump in the economy is likely, while experts wonder how to gear better for a new job market.

    Here is an analysis of why it could be detrimental – and how to resolve potential upcoming challenges. 

    58 percent of women at risk

    Despite laws encouraging companies to hire more skilled and graduated women – especially in the innovation and finance industries, it seems that the majority of them took the liberty of carrying a pro-male policy.

    As a result, women can be found in the lowest skilled jobs, from “secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, and information clerks”, as City Lab reports. Preferred industries are hospitality and education, where automation is unlikely to happen soon.

    However, these are the lowest paid jobs, where benefits such as health insurance and paid maternity leaves are rare. Only high skilled workers enjoy such benefits, especially in big cities.

    As women represent about half of the workforce in the United States,  about 58 percent of them could be out of a job in the upcoming years because of artificial intelligence.

    Is the future of work led by men?

    On the other hand, the industries that are now recruiting, especially computer science – including “computer scientists and systems analysts, software developers, and computer support specialists has declined since 2000”, details a World Economic Forum report published last year.

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    Does that mean that the future of work is currently led by men? The answer is yes, according to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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    In other words, by excluding women in these new jobs, women are excluded from shaping the future of work and even more unlikely to set up standards for themselves – including flexibility, access to higher education and a balance between their work and private life.
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    However, the World Economic Forum stresses governments to push on new equity regulations, as it found that helping women with a digital transition “is associated with increasing wages for 74% of all cases, while the equivalent figure for men is only 53%”.
    At the moment, the WEF found that only 49 percent of women were offered trainings to guarantee a life-long career geared for automation, while 80 percent of currently employed men in the United States are. Ariane Hegewisch, who co-authored the report with Chandra Childers and Heidi Hartmann, commented that there “were warning signs”. At the moment, women only occupy 25 percent of the top jobs in the United States.

    Automation will widen the gap

    Not only the automation is likely to put 1.4 million women out of a job in the United States, but it could widen the salary gap between them and men, too.

    According to Hegewisch, the salary distribution could be dramatically changed by automation, thus reinforcing stigma towards the female community.

    As it turns out, “for every $436 increase women get in annual earnings for doing more high-tech jobs, the study found, men get $740.”, reports City Lab. This represents a 41 percent difference.

    What is the solution?

    While many non-profit organizations have encouraged governments to train girls from a young age to code – France will start mandatory coding classes in middle school next year, education seems key.

    Many western countries have offered life-long trainings to enable women to apply to better-paid jobs. As a matter of fact, experts from Dell estimated that about 85% of the jobs in 2030 do not exist yet.

    “The pace of change will be so rapid that people will learn ‘in the moment’ using new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality. The ability to gain new knowledge will be more valuable than the knowledge itself,” Dell Technologies shared in a statement.

    Analysts agree that some solutions still have to be found, while many companies have started offering trainings to their employees as part of a path to automation.

    Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.