Women are less optimistic than men about the future of work

Women in the US are less optimistic than men about the future of work, according to a new survey from B2B research firm Clutch. When asked how they view their future career, more than a quarter (27 percent) of working women feel worried or neutral, compared to 20 percent of men. Workers overall have a positive outlook about their future careers, the survey finds. Over three quarters (76 percent) are optimistic about their future careers, compared to 1 in 5 workers (20 percent) who say they are worried. However, gender differences correlate with other factors that impact optimism, including decision-making authority at work, according to the survey’s findings.

The survey suggests that men are more optimistic about the future because they are more likely to have decision-making authority in their job. Higher levels of authority correlate with higher levels of optimism. For example, over 90% of business owners and 80% of business managers say they are optimistic about their future career prospects, compared to 70% of employees who do not have decision-making authority.

Men are significantly more likely to hold leadership positions, compared to women. More than half of men surveyed (53%) are business owners or managers, compared to only 32% of women in leadership positions. Men are more likely to have a leadership position at work, compared women.

Of the workers surveyed, only 10% identify politics such as changing gender roles as a factor that will have a high impact on the future of work.

However, research shows (link is external) that businesses that prioritise gender diversity tend to earn higher profits, build more successful work processes, and have more meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients.

People who are looking for work and hiring managers agree that critical thinking skills, including problem solving and adaptability, will be most important in the future.

Hiring managers are nearly twice as likely to value problem solving skills (13%) compared to digital or technical skills (8%), the survey finds. Skills individual contributors value for their future careers. Among workers, more than a third (40%) rank critical thinking skills including problem solving and adaptability highest, compared to 14% who chose digital or technical skills.

The survey suggests companies that offer professional development training can help their employees build confidence-boosting skills.