Hardwiring Gender Parity in the Future of Work

A Winning Strategy for Women in the New World of Work

The Hardwiring Gender Parity in the Future of Work is a Business Commitment Framework that offers a demand-driven approach to embed gender equality in emerging roles and ensure that the new world of work set to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis is inclusive. Companies analyze the impact of the shifting labour market in their organizations and identify their top emerging job roles that are strategic for their future growth. They commit to reach 50-50 gender parity in the hiring pipeline for these new roles and develop inclusive internal rewards that support equal pay and opportunities.  

Pre-COVID-19 crisis the World Economic Forum predicted that at current rates of progress it will take 257 years to close the economic gender gap. Now initial evidence is showing that the socio-economic implications of COVID19 are impacting women disproportionately. Taking a gender lens in the immediate crisis response and recovery policies will be critical to advance economic gender parity.

The Challenge: Shifts in Labour Demand

Labour markets are undergoing fundamental transformations as technological breakthroughs shift the frontier between the work done by humans and by machines. While these breakthroughs hold the promise of more rather than less work for humans, a significant portion of the 75 million roles that are likely to be displaced are currently performed by women. In their place we see 133 million new roles such as data scientists, software developers and AI specialists coming to the fore. The challenge is that there are significant gender gaps already evident in many of these growing fields. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020 shows that women are, on average, heavily under-represented in most emerging professions with the largest gap in those requiring disruptive technical skills, like cloud computing (12%), engineering (15%) and AI (26%).

While more and more companies are implementing policies and programmes to advance gender equality in their current workforce, very few have considered the changing job landscape and future talent pipeline. The Hardwiring Gender Paritiy in the Future of Work initiative uses the current flux in labour markets and aims to future-proof gender parity efforts by focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow. Many efforts have focused on the supply side of future-skills for girls and women, but there have been few demand side efforts to create incentives for women and girls to enter STEM and other high-growth roles. As labour markets go through a period of intense change there is a unique opportunity to embed parity into the future by balancing efforts between the demand side of growing jobs and the supply side of future-ready skills.

The Objective: A Gender Equality Strategy for the Future

The Business Commitment Framework ensures that women are equally represented in all phases of the talent pipeline in emerging roles by asking companies to:


  • Identify their top five emerging high-growth roles, including high-volume roles and leadership roles

  • Recruit 50% female talent into their top five emerging high-growth roles, across all seniority levels

  • Develop a strong gender-equal reward system that addresses unconscious bias and includes equal pay and equal opportunities

For more information, contact Melisande Kingchatchaval Schifter, Project Lead, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at melisande.schifter@weforum.org

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