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WOMEN IN BUSINESS

WWW.THEPRESS.NET

AUGUST 16, 2019

Women declining in workforce

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t its peak in 1999, the American workforce was dominated by female workers. At that time, 76% of women — including those who

had children at home — worked outside of the home, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The tides have since shifted, and rates of female employment in the U.S. now fall well behind many European countries. Economic woes, a short supply of middle-class jobs and minimal family leave may have prompted the changes. According to a study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University, single women without children have actually driven the turnaround. Technology and international outsourcing have removed many low-skill, well-paying jobs from the workforce. Wages for work in healthcare services, laundry and social assistance — jobs dominated by women — have remained relatively stagnant for years. Despite this, the cost of living has steadily increased. Other households tout the high cost of childcare and

the relatively small amount of maternity leave allowed in the U.S. as reasons for not returning to the workforce after having children. The economic analysis resource The Upshot, powered by The New York Times, reports many American companies give 12 weeks of maternity leave — largely unpaid — while most European countries give a year of paid leave and offer protections for part-time workers who want to return to the workforce. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Germany and France now outrank the U.S. in prime-age women’s labor force participation. The role women play as caregivers, not only for their own children or spouses, but for aging parents, also may be contributing to women dropping out of the labor force. A chronic-needs family member, such as a parent with dementia, can take away focus from employment. This can quickly result in a loss of a job. Employers interested in keeping talented women in the workforce can change corporate policies to reflect changes in modern society, including higher divorce rates, college

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Rates of female employment in the U.S. fall well behind many European countries. Economic woes, a short supply of middle-class jobs and minimal family leave may have prompted the changes. debt and the higher cost of living. Flexibility in schedules, modernized work environments that focus on mobile connectivity from home and lack of negative repercussions for needing family time can help keep talented female employees working. – Courtesy Metro Creative

Factors to consider before pursuing an advanced degree

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dvanced degrees have

long been associated with better career prospects and

higher earnings. Women seem to be especially aware of that, as the Council of Graduate Schools/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees

noted in the fall of 2017, the majority of first-time graduate students at all levels were women. Among master’s degree candidate’s that fall, 59% were female, and 53.5% of doctoral candidates were women. The decision to pursue an advanced degree requires careful consideration. This pursuit requires a considerable investment of time and money, and while those are two important factors to consider before making

a decision — more on that below — there is also other reasoning. ♦♦ Timing Timing and time are two different things. While many people considering graduate degrees think about how much time they’ll need to complete their degrees, timing also merits consideration. Newly minted graduates may want to take a break after expending so much effort to earn their undergraduate degrees. Taking time between degrees can provide the opportunity to recharge, and it also can give young graduates a chance to get some professional experience. That experience can inform their future grad school decision, perhaps reassuring them they’re on the right career path or compelling them to pursue other avenues. But enrolling right after completing your undergraduate studies can be beneficial, too — especially for recent grads who hope to start a family soon after graduation. ♦♦ Career prospects While it’s easy to assume an advanced degree will greatly enhance your career prospects and increase earning potential, it’s not necessarily that simple. When considering the pursuit of an advanced degree, try to determine whether you’ll be in the workforce

long enough to benefit from the increased earnings. Women who are mid- to late-career might not benefit considerably or at all from the extra earnings if they’re paying for their advanced degrees themselves, as the cost of tuition and other fees might be higher than the extra earnings. Depending on the profession, some advanced degrees won’t necessarily lead to considerably higher salaries than you’re likely to earn with a bachelor’s degree. ♦♦ Time The time required to pursue an advanced degree merits strong consideration. Many students pursuing a master’s degree full-time can earn their degrees in two years, while those who attend part-time will need more time to complete their degree programs. Doctoral programs take considerably longer. ♦♦ Cost The cost of an advanced degree varies widely depending on the program. Some programs cost $20,000 or less, while others will cost more than $100,000. Many doctoral candidates receive financial aid from their schools or lenders, but the cost of a Ph.D. is still considerable, especially when accounting for potential lost earnings during the years while pursuing the degree. – Courtesy Metro Creative

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