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6 Workplace Realities Women Will Face In 2040

Source | FastCompany 

My 4-year-old daughter Serena will be 30 in 2041. Assuming that she has a college degree and eight years of work experience, how might she fare in a world dominated by contract workers, fluid teams, human-centered work, persistent pay gaps, blurred work-life boundaries, and biases that have been around since the beginning of time? Well, let’s investigate.


Serena was born in 2011, the year the U.S. birth rate dipped to its lowest recorded level. As the U.S. birth rate keeps trending below 2.0 births per woman, that doesn’t mean young women will face less competition for school acceptance and jobs in the coming decades.

Instead of vying with other Americans her age, my daughter will fight for a place among hyper-qualified professionals from around the world. While her generation struggles to support the population of adults over 65—projected to triple by mid-century—it will face a global talent pool from which companies can hire the best people no matter where they’re based.


Will my daughter preside over her own company? She probably won’t, and yours isn’t likely to either—unless current trends make a dramatic turnaround.

According to Judith Warner at the Center for American Progress, women’s presence in top management positions today remains below 9%, and their percentage on all U.S. corporate boards has been stuck in the 12.1–12.3% range over the past decade. A 2014 Babson College study showed that, on average, just 60 female CEOs got VC funding in the years 2011–2013. This is surprising given that women are the majority owners in 36% of all businesses in the U.S.

It’s been estimated that at the current rate of change, it will take until 2085 for women to reach parity with men in leadership roles. That’s too late for Serena.


Rather than heading up her own venture, Serena is far more likely to be a contract worker—a segment of the workforce that’s been projected toovertake the single-employer workforce by 2040. And she won’t just have to compete for jobs every few years. She will be in a constant cycle of promoting her services, securing a project, and promoting her services again.

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