As a technology agency, we write a lot about the developments and advances that impact the job market; AI and automation platforms that alleviate boredom and repetitive or menial jobs, sometimes potentially removing the need for jobs entirely. I was talking about this with some learned educated male friends at a party the other day and they said, in all objective seriousness, as a working guy it’s certainly not AI you should be watching to protect your job and prospects, it’s women!
I joined the UK labour market in the early 80s at a time when the percentage of women in work was just taking off. The employment rates for men had taken a kicking as a result of the general downturn in mining, manufacturing and increasing automation. I was hired by a high-technology manufacturer, there was not one woman on the manufacturing floor, that was nothing unusual and nobody gave it a second thought.
Wind forward to today and nationally, in all roles, there are just two million more men employed than women — it is a lot of pay checks but in the grand scheme of things that’s really close. And looking at the numbers if the same trend continues, in the next 10 years — probably less, it will see men outnumbered in the workplace, and why not? Bring it on!
Naturally this says far more about the way society and attitudes have changed, there are now almost no roles I won’t be expecting to see filled by women, the last ones have all but vanished.
Back to AI and automation, sure it’s going to be big but it seems my friends were right.