Upskilling and Reskilling: A Path to Greater Gender Equity and Economic Growth

Much of the recent discussion about women in the workforce has rightly focused on income inequality — a problem compounded by the pandemic which disproportionately impacted women. Globally, 80 percent of domestic workers are women, and 72 percent lost work in the pandemic. Ditto hospitality, a field in which women earn 26 percent less than men.

Women Leaving the Workforce

Three million women left the workforce in 2020–2021, “an exodus that reflects persistent pay inequality, undervalued work, and antiquated notions of caregiving,” CBS Moneywatch said. Millions of mothers were forced to stay home when schools closed. “The urgent need for childcare at home has also pushed other working mothers, with spouses or partners earning more than they do, to withdraw from the workforce in order to take over childcare responsibilities.” Women’s representation in the workforce stands at 2.8 percent below 2019 levels, according to the Minneapolis Fed.

And the problem could get worse. As the digital transformation accelerates, women are at far greater risk of being replaced by machines than their male counterparts. Some 11 percent of jobs held by women will be eliminated by 2025. For example, 85 percent of bank tellers in the U.S. are women — a position ripe for elimination — while just 25 percent of less vulnerable bank managers are women.

To avoid another steep drop in opportunity, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and a growing number of analysts and think tanks call for a “reskilling revolution” that can transform the future of work for women. Reskilling is already top of mind for businesses, as formal education can’t keep pace with the rate of technology change and the new skills generated by that change. The shelf life of skills has shrunk to a few years, which means skills will be obsolete soon after gaining them. On-the-job training and retraining are the most practical solutions, but women have not been the focus of that conversation.

On-the-job training and retraining are the most practical solutions, but women have not been the focus of that conversation.

“Companies that continuously provide their employees at all levels with the latest digital skills will be most likely to thrive and continue to attract top talent,” WEF said. At the same time, “This reskilling imperative may offer just the opportunity we need to finally usher in meaningful change in the struggle for gender diversity.”

The digital revolution favors those with technical skills and STEM education, and women make up just 25 percent of the STEM workforce. The challenge is great, but so is the opportunity.

At Learn In, we’re passionate about closing the skills gap equitably, and, over the coming months, together with our good friends at the Flatiron School, we’ll be sharing new ideas, practical tips, and insights to highlight the positive actions that both organizations and women can take towards greater gender skill-building equity.

Since 2012, Flatiron School has been trailblazing when it comes to supporting women-in-tech to overcome barriers to building the necessary skills for success. Their 2020 Jobs Report saw women accept roles and job offers at a higher rate and with higher average starting salaries than men in the report.

Source: Flatiron School


So for part 1 of our 4 part series, we’re excited to share Flatiron School’s analysis of their jobs report and the promise of a brighter future.

Read part 1: Flatiron School’s Latest Jobs Report Shows Promise for Breaking Down Tech’s Gender Barrier.


Written By:

Michelle Vock

About Learn In‍

Learn In is the first talent-building platform designed for companies to solve every barrier that stands in the way of creating tomorrow’s workforce. Organizations use Learn In to identify talent-building goals, design skill-based programs, learn together in cohorts with coaches, and access flexible financing, delivering measurable outcomes for every dollar spent on upskilling the workforce. Co-founded by the founders of Degreed, Learn In is backed by leading edtech & future-of-work investors, including GSV, Album, Firework Ventures, and Village Global, and has been covered in CNBC, USA Today, EdTechReview, EdSurge, and Techcrunch.

About Flatiron School

Flatiron School is a leader in the bootcamp industry, providing market-driven education in software engineering, cybersecurity, data science, and product design. Founded in 2012, Flatiron School has campuses online and across the country, and is frequently ranked as a top coding bootcamp by industry publications. In addition to direct-enrollment programs, Flatiron School offers customized training for universities and businesses to train employees and students in today’s most in-demand technical skills. To learn more about Flatiron School’s options for businesses, contact enterprise@flatironschool.com.

Learn In is the first talent-building platform designed for companies to solve every barrier that stands in the way of creating tomorrow’s workforce.