Two studies show women may be important to Corporate America, but they’re not running it.
Although women may now be the driving force behind America’s workforce, they still struggle to reach the top. This may represent a challenge for families trying to achieve success, since in many cases the primary bread winner may be faced with salary caps and a lack of upward mobility.
The first report released in early November shows women have recovered 50 percent more jobs than they lost during the recession. Essentially, while job growth for men remains painfully slow and below pre-recession levels, job growth recovery for women has been much faster. Women matched pre-recession employment numbers more than a year ago in October 2013, while men are still lagging behind their pre-recession numbers.
On the other hand, a second global study released a day earlier shows if current trends continue, women will only hold about one third of the executive positions available in the next 10 years. So while worldwide women make up 41 percent of the total workforce, they only hold 19 percent of the executive titles.
What this means for the average American household
This presents a potential challenge for families in the U.S. who increasingly are depending on the woman of the house to take a leading role as the primary breadwinner. It’s a particularly troubling trend in households where the goal is to have one parent working while the other takes lead on raising children.
It may be easier for the woman to secure gainful employment, but reduced opportunities to move into leading roles means families may be faced with stagnant income gains. As prices and cost of living expenses continue to increase every year, households may find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, budget-wise.
“If women have to take the lead on breadwinning for their families, then they need to be able to achieve the same kind of upward mobility that men can achieve when they’re the primary breadwinners,” says April Lewis-Parks, Director of Education and Corporate Communications at Consolidated Credit. “Otherwise, we’ll continue to watch the middle class disappear or face a culture where both parents are forced to work full time to support the household instead of having the choice of allowing one parent to focus on raising children.”
Find budget stability in today’s job market
If you’re in a situation where your household is struggling to stay afloat because of reduced or stagnant income, Consolidated Credit offers these tips to help you achieve long-term stability:
- Have an honest conversation about your lifestyle and goals. If you both want one parent to focus on raising children, then the other parent will have to take a leading role on earning the income. Discuss life goals, as well as career goals to decide how you want to divide income-earning versus taking care of things at home. If both of you will work, how will household duties be divided so you both aren’t run ragged?
- If the woman is going to be the primary breadwinner, she needs to be aggressive. Studies show that women don’t negotiate when it comes to employment reviews and pay increases. As a primary breadwinner, negotiation is key to the financial stability of your household, so your family literally cannot afford for you to be shy about asking for more money.
- Savings can’t be left for later. People often have a habit of leaving savings for last – putting off for better times when money isn’t as tight. However, if a woman has to take a leading role on income-earning and can’t get pay increases to match cost of living increases, then better times may be slow to come. Review your budget together and make whatever tough choices you have to make to implement a saving strategy now.