New research commissioned by Microsoft Windows Mobile reveals that the 21st century will be defined by workers who are able to be “lateral, collaborative, flexible and creative”, meaning the most sought after employees will be people who use the right (or female) side of their brain.
According to The Future Laboratory who conducted the report for Microsoft to explore the future of business working in Britain over the next 25 years, this shift towards the utilisation of female and female-oriented soft skills, like flexibility and lateral thinking, is a reaction to the new economy model based around FMPB sectors (finance, media, publishing and business).
Furthermore, the report also reveals that both men and women feel new mobile technology will make it easier for women to compete in the working environment (62%) and that a huge rise in mobile technology will see the UK workplace become dominated by females and female orientated working practices.
“Soft skills will reign supreme in the UK workplace over the next 25 years. As these skills and creativity become the currency for tomorrow’s economy, coupled with the advantage mobile technologies will provide women with, we’ll see a greater shift towards more equal opportunities for women, and as this research demonstrate, who may even be in a stronger position than their counter-parts,” says Jemma Harris, mobile working expert at Microsoft.
“However, it is not just about being female, as these skills will need to be honed by both men and women working in this new mobile age. Just as the pay gap between genders has begun to close, so will the gap for adaptors of mobile technologies, with women increasingly identifying these technologies as catalysts in a competitive and mobile market,” continues Harris.
Glenda Stone, CEO of Aurora, who runs the women’s network and wheretowork.co.uk websites, commented on the findings:
“Whilst there is no substitute for the traditional factors, such as working hard, talent and self-belief, it is both surprising and exciting to think that the growing influence of right-brain thinking and new technology will help progress the success rates of women in the workplace.”
Stone continues, “the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) highlights the challenges women still face getting to the very top of their careers, but hopefully in ten years time the impact of new mobile technology will highlight a greater step towards equality. It’s very encouraging”
The Microsoft Windows Mobile report also found that 70% of those surveyed believe that work in the 21st century is increasingly about a work/life balance and being given the opportunity to work flexible hours as required.
An overwhelming 79% of respondents cite convenience as the biggest advantage of remote working, with two thirds (66%) saying that mobile technologies allow them to determine their own schedules.