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Lead Your Team Managing

The Changing Face of Today's Workforce

The Changing Face of Today's Workforce
Credit: RawPixel/Shutterstock

The U.S. workforce looks significantly different than it did a decade ago, research shows.

Women, minorities and all workers over the age of 55 have seen their employment grow considerably since 2001, according to a new report from CareerBuilder.

Overall, women now make up a greater share of the workforce. There are nearly 5 million more female workers since 2001 compared with just 2.2 million additional male workers.

The study did reveal that despite the gains made by women, men are now working in a wider variety of jobs. Men saw their share of employment increase in 72 percent of all occupations, including many that are primarily dominated by women, such as those for pharmacists, credit analysts and physical therapists.

"We need to move beyond the simplistic, antiquated notions of pink-collar, blue-collar and white-collar jobs and focus on bringing the best people, regardless of gender, into the roles required of a healthy economy," Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder, said in a statement. "Men are contributing in a wider variety of occupations than at the turn of the century, and as women continue to make up a larger share of the workforce, we must ensure they have the same access and opportunity for success in all professions."

The research discovered that, while women increased their share of jobs in terms of numbers, women have actually taken a step back in terms of the best-paying ones. Since 2001, women lost ground in 48 out of the 50 highest-paying jobs, including surgeons, chief executives and software developers.

In addition to women, minorities also increased their share of the jobs. Hispanic, Latino and Asian workers make up a greater share of the workforce now than in 2001. The report shows that the share of Hispanic and Latino workers increased in 96 percent of all occupations, in 90 percent for Asians and in 22 percent for African-American employees. In addition, the percentage of African-American workers rose in 44 percent of the 50 highest-paying jobs. [Entrepreneurial Spirit Burns Brightest in Minority Students ]

Alex Green, general counsel of CareerBuilder, said just like the population as a whole, the U.S. workplace is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse.

"A diverse organization is more innovative, more inclusive and better-positioned to capitalize on an ever-changing consumer marketplace," Green said. "Any momentum achieved since 2001 must be sustained by increasing access to effective, affordable education so that young people, regardless of race or ethnicity, are exposed to the full spectrum of vocations and career paths."

The most dramatic demographic shift in workforce composition has been in the age of employees. The teenage workforce is 33 percent smaller than in 2001, while the number of employees age 55 and over grew by 40 percent, which amounts to 8.3 million people.

The increase in the age of the workforceis being seen in virtually all occupations.Specifically, workers 55 and older now make up 25 percent of the workforce in 210 occupations, up from just 86 such fields in 2001.

Matt Ferguson, chief executive officer of CareerBuilder, said employers should consider the implications of an aging workforce.

"When employment growth projections and replacement needs are taken into account, millions of high- and middle-skill occupations will be available in the next decade," Ferguson said. "This will require workforce planners and talent acquisition executives to evaluate succession plans and candidate supply chains."

The study was is based on data from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI), CareerBuilder's labor market analysis arm, which pulls information from more than 90 government and private sector resources.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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