Men dominate LinkedIn's most in-demand jobs list

'Everyday microaggressions in workplaces dominated by men can really contribute to pushing women out of these sorts of positions': gender and economy researcher

Men dominate LinkedIn's most in-demand jobs list

Social platform LinkedIn released its “Jobs on the Rise 2024” list on January 17, naming the top 20 jobs in Canada that are growing in demand the fastest. Out of the 20 jobs LinkedIn listed as most quickly on the rise, 12 are largely held by men, many with wide gender gaps, especially in tech roles which dominate the list.

To gain some insight into why that is, and how HR leaders can help to encourage women into in-demand roles in their organizations, HRD spoke with Carmina Ravanera, Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

“It has to do with the job segregation that's pretty common across our society,” Ravanera said. “If it's something relating to data science, like energy advisor or growth manager, things that involve a lot of math or technical skills, those tend to be more held by men, for a whole host of reasons.”

STEM jobs still host male-dominated work culture

A large part of the problem of women not being successful in technical roles, such as Cyber Security Analyst (9th), is that although many women are educated and pursue careers in STEM, once they are in those roles, they are pushed out by toxic male-dominated work cultures, she said.

“Women will still enter STEM degrees at relatively high numbers, but we tend to see them dropping out of the field in post-secondary, or even early in their careers in STEM fields, with a lot of feelings of exclusion, feeling that it's a boys’ club environment,” Ravanera said.

“Just having to deal with everyday microaggressions in workplaces dominated by men can really contribute to pushing women out of these sorts of positions.”

To combat this effect, whether or not they are in STEM fields, HR professionals should work towards normalizing cultures of belonging in their workplaces. This means having policies around inclusion, around discriminatory behaviour such as microaggressions – but also normalizing using them, Ravanera said.

Normalize culture of belonging to keep women in in-demand jobs

Family-friendly policies such as offering parental leave for both parents is helpful, but flexible working arrangements can be crucial to keeping women in their workplaces and more likely to advance to more in-demand roles, she said.

“Focusing on that cultural change is really important, and making that a priority,” Ravanera said. “Your workplace culture shouldn't penalize employees that need flexible work, it should be something that's just normalized throughout an organization. And leadership is also really important for setting the tone and putting forth that as a priority.”

Ravanera also pointed out that many STEM and other jobs that tend to be male-dominated, such as Mergers and Acquisitions Analyst (13th) or Strategy Associate (5th) often have masculine language in job postings, which research has shown can discourage women from applying.

Words such as “competitive”, “dominating”, “aggressive”, and “challenge” can stop women from applying for in-demand positions, she explained. Women are more likely to respond to job postings that include language such as “collaborate” and  “teamwork”.

Additionally, as HRD has previously reported, unconscious bias can sneak into job postings in the form of vague skills requirements and hiring for “fit”.

“Just being aware of how language can function is important, and then making sure that when you're hiring, there's no vague criteria, be very sure that the criteria goes along with what actually is required for the job.”

Pay them and they will come

Women statistically and historically have occupied more people and care-centric roles in the workforce, such as child educators and carers, customer service roles, and human resources.

This is reflected in LinkedIn’s top 20 list, where most of the women-dominated jobs are human relations focused, including Labour Relations Specialist (7th), Customer Experience Specialist (8th) and Director of Philanthropy (15th).

The most female-dominated in-demand role was Diversity and Inclusion Specialist (4th), which is 78% held by women. The reason for this disparity is based on personal motivation, Ravanera said.

“I think a lot of women go into that role because they are the ones who are seeing and experiencing issues around gender diversity, so definitely that sector is very women dominated,” Ravanera said, pointing out that many DEI specialists transition from teaching or non-profit roles, which are also feminized careers.

Those roles also tend to be compensated at lower rates than STEM or other male-dominated roles, she explained, which is why elevating typically female-dominated positions could contribute to narrowing gender gaps, as well as benefitting organizations.

“I think there needs to be more importance placed on those specific roles in general,” she said. “Usually those sorts of roles don't make as much money as more technical roles involved in engineering or the hard science.”

“When you better compensate those sorts of roles, it shows that the organization really values that role within their company and that they think that it's important … Having a chief diversity officer or something to that effect, can be a lot more impactful than just having one person in a specific department working on these issues.”

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