If you want a job done get software to do it for you

Artificial Intelligence – the technology that’s attempting to think, feel, understand and solve solutions similarly and in some cases better than human beings. I can see the headlines now- Robot Love Island hitting your screens Summer 2040!

As time progresses, so does technology and the modern workforce, AI breakthroughs such as a ground-breaking self-driving car means human labour is so 2000 and late. There is a lot of research that outlines the jobs that are at risk but little information on what jobs are ‘safe’ from being taken over by technology. Artificial intelligence is creating new jobs as it develops, these may include algorithm designers or AI data labellers. But the real question is WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR WOMEN?

The report published by the Financial Times, showcases their take on how this will affect women. Futurists are very confident that the lack of emotional intelligence in AI, which women historically have, means an EI workforce will be needed – thus Creating new roles.

A report published by Capegemini found an astonishing 83% of organisations believe an EI (emotional intelligence) workforce will be a necessity in years to come. It’s an exciting prospect that women could transition into leadership roles, as it’s suggested women may be more likely than men to have the skills that can’t me taught and are hard to learn, such as a positive attitude and creativity. However, how realistic is this?

Being attacked at all angles

For women to prosper we need to be realistic, and to be completely honest it’s a double-edged sword. It’s fantastic that more jobs may become available for women in AI to help break this gender stereotype, but it’s also taking a lot of women out of jobs as a computer can do their job for them.

The challenge with this prospect is that women that aren’t already in a tech job, will have to re-skill and re-educate themselves to be able to flourish in an EI workforce. For example, Karen from finance who has been sorting out the company’s payroll for 20 years, AI will soon be able to do her job for her and leave Karen looking for a new role. Is she going to want to re skill and transition into a job to work for an EI workforce? Maybe! But having been in the job for so long, this transition will not be smooth or plain sailing. It’s suggested by the financial times that if women take advantage of these transitional opportunities into leadership roles like they are very capable, we could retain their current share – not increase just retain. If there is a trouble with the transition, then it could make the general gender equality gap even wider.

So, to put this into perspective, not only is the technology sector underrepresented to by women, but now technology is expected to take a large proportion of women out of jobs.

Don’t accept defeat!

Just to highlight that this article doesn’t just assume that more women are in administrative roles than men, let’s look at the stats.

A report published in 2018 by the House of Commons found:

– 2.5 million women in 2018 were employed in secretarial and administrative roles across the UK.

-Less than 1 million men, were employed in secretarial and administrative roles across the UK

-The main industry women are working in is, health and social work.

Use your competitive advantage and blossom

A 2017 Harvard study found the need for social-skill intensive jobs in computer science increased by 12% since 1980 and the wage for these jobs has increased, just as the wage has increased for tech jobs. This highlights there is still a massive need for social skilled roles, so – pair women social skills and caring qualities, with the right education for roles in AI, you have competitive advantage over men and the perfect candidate is formed. These ‘soft skills’ should be celebrated and not scoffed at, these qualities give women a competitive advantage as they are hard to be learned or taught.

Therefore, reverting back to the previous article I published, it regresses back to the in balance of opportunities that are introduced to females at an early age in school: will women have access to the same networks, education and opportunities that their male counterparts do? It may be harder for Karen from finance who sorts the pay roll to transition into a job in tech, but if a girl at the age of 14-18 got introduced to the idea of having as leadership or managerial role in technology, then this will give them time to develop the skills that are needed and the need to transition won’t be there.

Leadership roles are extremely feasible for women, but leadership roles need to be introduced as a very achievable goal for children at school to give them confidence that they can accomplish from an early age. In the words of Michelle Obama “When girls are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous”, ie. If girls aren’t educated, tech will stay as a man’s world and female employment rates will spiral into a black hole.

Written by Sophia Ghahramani