Women shut out of UK's fastest growing jobs

Legislation and changing attitudes fail to mask the continuing entrenchment of gender stereotyping in aspirational jobs

LinkedIn's research found that last year, 68 per cent of those hired as home health aides were women. Getty Images
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The world of work is changing, according to LinkedIn, as research from the employment-focused social media site shows "the acceleration of artificial intelligence and automation have created new opportunities and challenges for professionals and companies alike looking to prepare for the future".

But lurking within the research of new, exciting and aspirational jobs, such as those in AI, is evidence that old-fashioned gender attitudes are still very much the norm, creating imbalances when it comes to hiring.

For example, according to the data compiled by LinkedIn for its Jobs on the Rise list, in the cutting-edge, high tech world of AI, the post of artificial intelligence engineer is the seventh fastest growing job in the UK. But of all those hired throughout last year, only 13 per cent were women.

The picture was worse in the sporting arena, where despite events such as the Fifa Women's World Cup being staged last year, only 5 per cent of sports scouts hired in 2023 in Britain were women.

Women wishing to pursue a career in the construction industry seem to have the odds stacked against them as well. Of all the civil engineering supervisors hired to oversee construction projects last year through LinkedIn, 93 per cent were men.

Meanwhile, 77 per cent of those employed as data engineers were men.

Dental therapists come in at number five on the Jobs on the Rise list. Sometimes referred to as dental technicians, these jobs involve routine dentistry procedures, teeth whitening and dealing with periodontal disease. According to LinkedIn, 75 per cent of dental therapists hired in the UK in 2023 were women.

Likewise, home health aide is seen as a job predominately held by women. Involving personal care of disabled or elderly people, LinkedIn found that last year, 68 per cent of those hired as home health aides were women.

There were more than twice as many women (67 per cent) hired into payroll executive roles as men (33 per cent) and it seemed employers preferred women to men when it came to dealing with customers – out of the customer experience specialists who were hired in 2023, 57 per cent were women.

Women dominated human resources, where 74 per cent of chief people officers hired were women.

With its fastest changing Jobs on the Rise list, no doubt the LinkedIn research was purporting to paint a picture of a dynamic labour market. But it seems that beneath the veneer of the new painting, old attitudes still have a grip on society's canvas.

Updated: January 22, 2024, 4:02 PM