Womenomics: News You Can Use

by Editorial

Ten reasons why you can get the work life you want (especially in a recession)

By Claire Shipman and Katty Kay

“Womenonomics,” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, is  a groundbreaking new study of women in the workplace.

“Womenonomics,” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, is a groundbreaking new study of women in the workplace.

1: Multiple studies from such organizations as Catalyst, Pepperdine University, Columbia University, and Goldman Sachs have dug in to data at companies around the world and have reached the same compelling conclusion: the more senior women there are at a company, the more money it makes – on all measures. That’s the kind of math bosses pay attention to.

2: Women also happen to control 83 percent of all consumer purchases. Companies now understand they need us to figure out how to market to us.

3: Women are better educated – earning more college and graduate degrees – at a time when a huge shortage of professional talent looms.

4: Finally, the world of work is recognizing the obvious: women are not men. We manage differently. And indeed, our natural management skills, once seen as “soft,” are now much in demand. Collaboration, caution, consensus – those right brain skills are very 21st century.

5: Points one through four mean you have much, much more power in the workplace than you ever thought – not that your boss would ever let you know! Companies realize they can’t afford the febrain drain that’s been hitting them for the last 10 years. Letting us walk out the door can mean replacement costs of up to 500 percent.

6: You are not alone if you are looking for more flexibility on the job. Most working women say they would trade money for time, or control.

7: You can’t work happily according to someone else’s definition of success. Stop and think about whether the next rung on the ladder is really worth it right now. Maybe you don’t want to be there at all. And take heart, modern companies are abandoning the ladder, creating careers that move in waves, positions that offer the opportunity to dial up and dial down as life dictates. Just talk to women at Deloitte and Touche, Marriott, or PepsiCo.

8: Companies offering significant flexibility and freedom to their employees – measuring results instead of time in a chair – have seen productivity increases of up to 40 percent. Check out Capitol One, Best Buy, and divisions of Wal-Mart.

9: The downturn is making many companies more flexible. Creative bosses are looking for ways to reward employees that don’t involve cash and may be happy to offer time, flexibility, or alternative work schedules to keep valuable talent. The key question is “Are you doing your job, and doing it well?”

10: The overwhelming reason women don’t get what we want? We don’t ask.

Claire Shipman is senior national correspondent for ABC News’ “Good Morning America.” Katty Kay covers American politics and society for the BBC. They are the co-authors of “Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success.”

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