Both women and men can be successful entrepreneurs but in times of severe economic disruption, women should turn to entrepreneurship for many reasons. It offers them control their career, schedule and workload. It keeps women independent of trends in the job market and breaks traditional barriers. Most importantly, entrepreneurship is a strong career alternative to defy the terrible impact of a pandemic.
This year, the coronavirus resulted in many jobs being lost and businesses becoming permanently closed. Women bore the brunt of job losses more than men. According to NPR, in September of this year, “an eye-popping 865,000 women left the U.S. workforce — four times more than men.”
Adapting to Changes in the Job Market
Despite changes in gender stereotypes over the years, more women lost jobs than men in 2020. They also found it impossible to continue working because childcare and housework were mostly their responsibility. Women are more likely to stay home to take care of sick parents and watch over children who may have to be homeschooled.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the job market was already changing. The days of a career that lasts more than 30 years, with a 9 to 5 schedule, and holiday and medical benefits, were starting to become extinct. Labour statistics from 2015 state that a person can hold a total of 10 jobs by the age of 40, but that number is predicted to grow to over 12.
Millennials, born between the 1980s to 2000s, will have an even greater challenge finding a career or job that lasts more than five years, and pays enough to fulfill their financial needs.
Becoming an entrepreneur is becoming a choice more and more worthy of consideration. We cannot rely on an employer to provide us with financial stability. If we are our own boss, our future is in our own hands.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which is the world’s foremost study of entrepreneurship, found that in a five-year period up to 2016, female entrepreneurship had risen 13% on average, while male entrepreneurship had risen 5% in the same time period. More and more women are going into business for themselves. One reason is they have the talent for it.
Women Possess the Traits to Succeed as Entrepreneurs
Women have the personality traits to succeed in business. Firstly, they are great multi-taskers because of their ability to wear many hats. Many are able to juggle a full-time career while running a household.
Secondly, their method of communication is more of a friends-first approach when networking. During the pandemic, many female entrepreneurs have connected with other freelancers and small business owners via Zoom meetings. They are open communicators, willing to share ideas and learn new approaches.
Third, they are solid leaders who can plan long term and have a vision of where they are headed. Women are motivated. They set goals for business development and leadership, as well as for personal development. They want financial independence, even if they are married.
Women Face Barriers in the Traditional Workplace
The fourth Industrial Revolution has impacted the traditional workplace. Nearly 4.8 million office and administrative jobs, for example, will vanish from the world by 2020. Women will lose more than five jobs for each one gained, while men will only lose about three jobs for each one gained.
Technological advances, such as robotics and 3D printing, are impacting administrative roles – traditionally women’s roles. Male-dominated industries, such as architecture and engineering, will not be negatively impacted by technology. Jobs in these sectors are expected to grow. In 2016, only 11% of the jobs in these industries are held by women.
However, not all changes in the workplace are harmful to women. Higher-skilled workers, such as those in jobs requiring analytics or social skills, saw a larger increase in pay than jobs requiring physical labour. This trend has helped women make larger gains in salary overall, although the average salary of men still remains higher. In addition, mothers have childcare responsibilities. Women may take maternity leave after having a child, or work reduced hours after having children, which affects their paycheck.
A survey of recruiters also paints a harsh picture for female workers. Forty-two percent of all the high-level recruitment and strategy officers said the reason for recruiting more women was “fairness and equality.” Twenty-three percent said that expanding the talent pool was their reason for hiring women. None of the 100 largest global recruiters surveyed cited “financial returns” as a reason for hiring more women.
Another barrier is a woman’s appearance. If she is wearing makeup and high heels, it shows that she cares about her job. But being well dressed can also mean she is trying too hard at her job, depending on who you ask. Studies show that women who are promoted most at work are perceived to be more attractive, taller, and thinner.
Company statistics seem to support these findings on barriers to employment. A 2020 analysis found women made up 23% of executive positions, 29% of senior managers, and 37% of managers. Compare those statistics to 42% of professionals and 47% of support staff positions held by women.
The World Needs More Female Entrepreneurs
The benefits of being a female entrepreneur have an impact from a global to a personal level. Women entrepreneurs can be their own boss. Their business will contribute to the economy by creating jobs or beginning new careers for other women. There is no limit to their income potential.
Women who want to spend time with their family can set up a home-based business that allows them to have the flexibility to balance work and family life. Most importantly, they can choose a career that they are passionate about and develop their business in a direction that they want.
The list of successful female entrepreneurs continues to increase over time. Billionaire Tory Burch, for example, began her fashion empire in her kitchen. One of the wealthiest women in the world, Oprah Winfrey, started life in poverty and became a media mogul with her own television show and production company.
Becoming an entrepreneur will require stepping out of your comfort zone, but for women looking to reach past the skies to challenge their own limits, this career path is definitely one to consider.