Previously male dominated industries such as science and technology present somewhat of an uphill battle for women – that's according to the Harambee, youth employment accelerator, quarterly employment report.
The recent Quarterly Labour Force survey results, released by Statistics South Africa continue to paint a dire picture of unemployment in South Africa, with youth employment dropping to its lowest in the last five years.
The national employment rate for youth aged 18-28 decreased to 51.8% this quarter which is a 0.7% point decline compared to last quarter.
A lack of leadership roles, inflexible work schedules and pay differences are problems that plague women in many professions. Additionally salaries for women are routinely lower than those of men even when they do manage to advance to upper-level positions.
Despite these barriers, women are fighting to break these barriers in the workplace. We spoke to some women who have managed to work their way up to hear what advice they have to share with younger women entering the workplace.
Ask for the pay you want
Negotiating for the salary you want is not easy. According to research, women are less likely to ask for more money when offered a job. If discussing your salary makes you feel uncomfortable then you are not alone. A survey from Glassdoor reports that 60% of women and 48% of men believe salary history questions should be avoided. According to the same report, 68% of women are less likely to negotiate compensation, compared to 52% of men. Be realistic before starting this conversation, for example find out what the pay grade for that position is and consider your experience.
As used by Sheryl Sandberg in the book of that title to "lean in" means to be assertive, to move toward a leading, rather than following role. The book and the lean in movement, encourage women to do this. Don't be afraid to strive for a leadership position or to be heard in meetings.
Change your mind-set
Don't focus on the challenges that women face in the workplace but rather focus your energy in overcoming them and growing in your choosen career.
Continuously look for opportunities to grow
Always look for opportunities to move you further up the career ladder. Offer to take on projects that you may not necessarily be comfortable with and challenge yourself to exert yourself.
It's very important for all of us to find ways to be authentic in the workplace. So when looking for job opportunities, make sure you learn about the community and culture of the company. It is important to work in an environment that resonates with you. For example company values that are different to your own will cause discord and internal discomfort.
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