State of the Global Workplace (Part 3)

Putting Women to Work

Reading time: 7 minutes

Today, we scratch the surface on the correlation between the number of women in high-quality jobs and the resulting economic stimulation.

Last week, we covered microfinance and its impact on society.   Today, we're going to jump straight into the Human Capital Development Model.  We'll dip into where the good jobs are located around the world and break the findings down by region and gender.  

While we may dip a bit into employee engagement, the majority of today's focus will be on why there are disparities within the various segment groups.

Time to roll. 

Human Capital Development Model

The Human Capital Development Model is a pyramid.  Luckily, it's the good kind pyramid, not the kind where you lose all your money.  

So, what is the Human Capital Development Model?  

To answer that question, we look to Gallup's very own definition.   They define it as requiring "strategies for empowering people at various levels of society, from national institutions to public or private employers to individuals." 

Now, while that may sound like a bunch of gobbledygook, when we break that down, it's essentially three tiers:  society-level supporters, employer-level supporters, and individual-level supporters.

online job fair, human capital development model

At the foundation of the pyramid are the society-level supporters.  That includes entities like information technology, education, infrastructure, healthcare, rule of law — you know, the basics. 

Interestingly, the next step up on the pyramid is not the next category.  Instead, it's a collaboration between two categories: the categories of society-level and employer-level support.  

According to Gallup, now and then, two levels need to work together to make something significant occur.  In this case, when society-level support and employer-level support are combined, the fruits of their labor are workforce education plus entrepreneurship training and financing.

Above that, on the pyramid, comes employer-level support.  This is what Gallup will spend most of their time covering for this report.  And, that makes a heck of a lot of sense, given this is the "State of the Global Workplace" and not the state of global nonprofits or state of global government.

So, employer-level support encompasses items like performance development systems, great managers, and culture of engagement.

Then, the top two tiers on the pyramid are personal development focused on strengths and individual-level support — including mentoring, strengths identification, and development. 

So, in effect, when all levels of the pyramid are active, they contribute to the main goal, which is to produce a positive outcome.  When there is a positive outcome, there is growth in good jobs, per-person productivity rises, and there are indicators that the overall well-being of citizens has improved.

Who Has all the Good Jobs? 

Now that we've discussed the pyramid, let's go back to the topic of good jobs for a moment.  Gallup moves into covering good job rates.  As we mentioned before, approximately "1 in 3 working-age adults worldwide" have what Gallup defines as having a "good job." 

If you'll remember from the first part of this series, a good job is defined as someone who has any full-time work with an employer.   That is considered to be a good job.  Because it boosts productivity which boosts GDP,  and then everybody's happier.  Well, at least, all the different governments are happier, but that's okay, too. #PuttingPeopleToWork 

In this case, about 32% of residents age 23-65, across the 155 countries surveyed by Gallup, have good jobs.  So, again, that's working at least 30 hours per week.

Gallup goes on to break this down by the country level.  And, that's where the results really start to look quite different, depending on the countries you're examining.

Take this graph, for example.  

online job fair, percentage of population employed full time, gallup

Before digging in on the data, Gallup points out a few notable countries to help lay the foundation for its findings. 

At the country level, the good job rate ranges from a low of 5% in Niger up to 72% in the United Arab Emirates.  Which makes sense, especially once you have some historical context for each region.

And, according to Gallup, the world's poorest region is sub-Saharan Africa.  There, the good job rate exceeds 30% only for the tiny island nation of Mauritius.  

If you aren't familiar with Mauritius, it's a essentially an island paradise near Madagascar with about as many visitors each year as it has in its entire population. 

This is Mauritius. Yep.

By contrast, in western Europe, the only instances where the full-time employment rate falls below 40% — we're talking ten percent higher than the highest in sub-Saharan Africa — is in Italy, Spain, and Ireland, with 36, 37, and 39 percent, respectively. 

Additionally, working-age residents in the United States and Canada are approximately four times more likely than residents in sub-Saharan Africa to hold a good job.  56% vs 14% to be exact.

From this data, we're able to further dig into the numbers.  When the data is further dissected, we can formulate new insights into the local conditions that impact and influence employment, and the various opportunities available in those regions.

Women #Working Means More Money for Everyone

When it comes to breaking down the statistics between men and women, it becomes eye-opening and brings about an alternate perspective on Gallup's initial proposition that if we can get employees to become 15% more engaged, then it will result in a 15% boost in the economy and, therefore, GDP. 

When exploring the breakdown of full-time work between men and women, the disparity is greatest in areas with stereotypically traditional gender roles still in place. 

For example, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia regions are regions with the lowest percentages of female residents working full-time for an employer. 

Further breaking this information down, in Southeast Asia, the percentage of men employed full-time is 43% while the percentage of women is 14%; in the Middle East, it's 37% men, 10% women.

To help understand some of the reasons why women are still held back, in these historically traditional regions is an individual by the name of Muhamed Naciri.  Naciri is Regional Director for the Arab states and Asia Pacific for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.   

In this clip, Naciri discusses some of the reasons he believes women are still held back in male-dominated societies, and even discusses the hot topic of the role some religions play in preventing women from moving ahead in society, and in the workplace.

If you had the same percentage of full-time working women as men, you could get triple the boost to the economy than if you worked with your employees to make them more productive. 

You know what's interesting?  Looking at the graph, my immediate thought was, "Is there any region with more women working than men?"  And...the answer is "No."  Every single region has more men working than women.  In 2019.  

The smallest gap between men and women is in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the percentage of full-time working men is 19% and the percentage of full-time working women is 9% — a ten-point spread.

It's interesting because they're one of the economically poorest regions, but they have the closest gap.  Based on my research for this article, what this indicates is that the women who are engaged in full-time work, in Sub-Saharan Africa, are likely mostly engaged in lower-level opportunities.  

As, history has shown that when women are employed, full-time, in the same types of higher-level roles as men, everyone makes more money — including men — and the overall economy experiences a direct boost. 

Western and Eastern Europe come in second lowest on the spectrum.  

This whole thing makes me super curious about the breakdown.  

For those reading, take a look at the color-coded map.  

recruiting events, statistics on most people employed around the world
recruiting events online, recruiting statistics

In the dark green, you'll see the location for the highest concentration of full-time jobs.

It goes from 5% in Niger in the lightest color green to the darkest shade of green, at 72% in the UAE.  Gallup, then, moves on to employee engagement.

Before we go there, there's one additional map I'd like to mention.  While doing research for today's audioblog, I came across another map — yes, another color map — posted as part of the Wikipedia article that covers the percentage of women in the workforce, across all women age 20-64 and located in the European Union.

I know we aren't talking about the entire world right now, and that we're, instead, focusing on the EU, however, while looking at this particular segment, I notice something interesting.  As soon as I began examining the map, I found that a few countries stood out.  

In particular, the countries Gallup referenced earlier in this chapter:  Italy, Spain, and Ireland. 

If you'll recall, Italy, Spain, and Ireland have 36, 37, and 39 percent, respectively, for the lowest percentage of the population engaged in full-time work in western Europe. 

Now, here's the interesting part.  When you look at the map, you'll see the darkest blue indicates the lowest percentages of women who are of working age and employed in the workforce.  The lighter the color becomes, the higher the percentage of employed women, all the way up to a light green color.  

Countries like Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands (yay!) — plus, a handful of other countries — all have the brightest green, indicating lots of ladies showing up to work full-time.  

And, if you've read most reports on countries with the highest quality of life, work-life balance, benefits, equal pay, etc., then these countries ranking amongst the highest for women working full-time shouldn't surprise you, either.

Take Sweden, for example.  An absolute power-house and leader when it comes to proactive gender equality in the world.  Even in Sweden — a country where nearly half of its parliament is comprised of women —  still notes that every third woman works part-time, as opposed to one in every ten men.  

In the deepest blue are countries like Italy,  Greece, Spain, and Ireland — which, as noted, also happen to have the distinction of the lowest percentage of the population engaged in full-time work in western Europe. 

Without a doubt, there is a correlation. 

Which makes me curious.  If it's known fact that by increasing the number of women in well-paid jobs we can simultaneously boost each nation's economy then, why hasn't a bigger push been made sooner?  

Join us next week for Part 4, and don't forget to subscribe.

Until then, reach out to me or leave a comment. I'm happy to help.

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November 23, 2019

Fionna Faulk

Co-Founder & CEO @ Recruitsos
Co-Founder & CEO @ Recruitsos

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