Changing social, cultural and economic patterns have had interesting and significant impacts on the representation of women in the American workforce. In the 1950s, women made up less than thirty percent of the civilian labor force, steadily growing to just under fifty percent today, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This gave rise to the familiar image of the two-income workplace and the working mother.
But this image ignores the realities of a diverse social environment, when working women aren't necessarily family women. In fact, new research shows that single women are a significant element of the American workforce.
More Single Women in the Workforce
"There are more single women in the workforce than ever, and that's having a profound effect on the US economy," writes Annaken Tappe in an article for CNN, adding, "By 2030, 45% of working women aged 25 to 44 in the United States will be single. That will be the largest share in history, according to research by Morgan Stanley (MS), using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics."
This growing representation of single women in the workforce has the potential to impact businesses in two key respects.
First, companies and their HR teams need to understand the size and significance of this demographic and its importance to their recruitment and retention efforts. Single women often have different priorities and motivations than married women. They may place a different emphasis on the importance of their careers in terms of work-life balance and may place a different emphasis on certain benefits—such as maternity leave and healthcare—relative to financial compensation.
Second—and this is the primary focus of Tappe's article—certain companies may be better positioned than others to take advantage of the increased spending power of working women without family attachments and the financial constraints that go with them. "Apparel and footwear, personal care, food and luxury and electric vehicles are most likely to get a boost from more spending by single women, according to Morgan Stanley," she writes.
Nothing remains static, and that is particularly evident in the ever-changing landscape of American demographics. Businesses—both from recruitment and marketing perspectives—need to be aware of changing trends and think about how best to position their organizations to adapt and respond.
While this particular piece focused on single working women, there are a myriad of other unique segments of your workforce—and market—with varying needs, priorities and preferences. How are you staying attuned to these needs and how are you taking steps to address them? Be inclusive!
Becoming an Inclusive Leader
Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage
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