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Supporting Women’s Career Advancement

Challenges and Opportunities

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

This book documents the progress that managerial and professional women have made in advancing their careers, and the challenges and opportunities that remain. In the context of increasing numbers of women entering the workplace and indeed pursuing professional and managerial careers, it examines why so few women occupy the top positions in corporations.
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Chapter 9: Work-life challenges professional women face in pursuing careers

Linda Duxbury and Christopher Higgins


9. Work–life challenges professional women face in pursuing careers Linda Duxbury and Christopher Higgins INTRODUCTION Almost two decades ago ago the Hudson Institute caught the attention of the business world with its publication of Workforce 2000 (Johnston and Packer, 1987), a compelling description of anticipated changes in the work world and in workforce demographics. Many of the changes predicted in Workforce 2000 have indeed materialized. As forecast, the workforce of the new millennium is quite different from the one organizations are used to managing (that is, the male-dominated workforce of the past). The new workforce is older, more ethnically diverse, and has a larger proportion of working women, working mothers, dual-income families, employees with responsibilities for the care of aging parents, fathers with dependent-care responsibilities, and sandwich employees (that is, those with both childcare and eldercare responsibilities). The declining labor pool and skills shortages (also predicted in 1987 by Johnson and Packer) have meant that organizations are now competing for a shrinking number of skilled employees who have a different set of priorities, and accordingly, new attitudes toward work and the role it should play in their lives (Duxbury et al., 2000). In many areas, the demand for labor now exceeds the supply and demographic predictions indicate that within the decade we will be entering a ‘sellers’ market where the number of good jobs exceeds the number of workers with the qualifications to fill the positions (Lancaster and Stillman, 2002). These trends have awakened employers to the business...

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