Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Next Generation of Women and Work


Even though there looks to be equality of opportunity in Australian universities and slightly more women than men are completing professional courses, it seems that rates of progress in the professions for male lawyers, doctors and other professionals vary markedly from those for women. Why is this so?

The Future of Work Conference held April 29 - 30 at the University of Melbourne, subtitled ‘People, Place, Technology,’ was a sell-out. Many of the presenters were strong on the need to re-think the idea of workplaces, emphasising the way new technologies lend themselves to virtual workplaces and that entrepreneurial approaches will be a platform for professional advancement in the future.

At the same time sources such as the Australia Graduate Survey suggests that higher proportions of young women than young men are still unemployed in their chosen field four months after completion of their course. In Queensland the current rate for underemployment of women is highest since recording began in 1978.

It is no surprise then that many of our affiliates have begun to look careful at the need for mentoring for the next generation of women seeking to enter a particular profession.

The Victorian Women Lawyers had VEOHR Commissioner Kate Jenkins launch their Flexible Work Protocols. This reminds us that the process of induction into a profession can be more problematic for those who have to overcome barriers of difference.

Volunteer Week is occurring in May and it is timely for us to reflect on the way our volunteering can bring us together with these young people who are taking their first steps on career paths in a world of under employment, and virtual workplaces.