Times are Changing: Age, Sex and Our Future (1 of 2)


We live in such incredibly dynamic times. These are exciting times to be alive… and challenging.

Most everything we have come to know is being disrupted and changed… seemingly all at once.

And for this conversation I’m not even referring to the technological or globalization changes that have impacted every function and facet of our business life.

I’m talking about the massive change in diversity we are undergoing in our workplace.

Not a diversity of race (although that is certainly another consideration with the impact of globalization), I’m talking about

the diversity of gender and generations.

These changes are so significant that they are an ‘Adapt or Die’ threat level to the survival of your business over the next decade or two.

At the same time, if you DO adapt, and quickly, this can become one of your greatest advantages, helping you build a dynamic and thriving organization over the next several years, adding to your experience that these are the most exciting times to be alive.

A new milestone in U.S. history has been reached…

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more women working than men.
  • Unemployment for men: 9.3% compared to 7.6% for women.
  • 78% of the layoffs in recent years were men.
  • More married women have unemployed husbands than ever before, a record 21%.
  • Stay-at-home dads have doubled in recent years, making 1 out of 5 stay-at-home parents a father.

Add all that to this…

  • 20.1 million women have bachelor’s degrees vs. 18.7 million men—a discrepancy of 1.4 million (it has been increasing since women passed men in 1996).
  • And now, for the first time, women have passed men in gaining advanced college degrees.

All this gives us a very clear view of the future of our business culture. The era of yang-based business is over. It’s important you learn the yin way of doing business if you want to continue to thrive going forward.

Add that to this interesting challenge…
In prior years, we have had three generations, sometimes four, but today because people are living and working longer…

  • We will soon have five generations in the workplace—all at once.
  • In four years Millennials (born between 1977 and 1997) will account for half of all the employees in the world, according

    to Harvard Business Review.

  • It’s important to realize these are not all fresh from dorm rooms 20-somethings. By 2015 the oldest of this generation will be around 35, holding roles of significant leadership and executive management.
  • Also, while the median age of the working population in the United States is around 36.7, in emerging markets, it is closer to 26 years old, with a larger population of younger workers.

Learning how to recruit, retain, motivate and leverage the diversity of experience, skills and capabilities of both genders and these different generations will be essential for you to stay competitive during these dynamic, very exciting and fast-changing times.

Now that you have this new awareness, in the next post I will give you two methods to help prepare and develop your internal culture and your leadership capability so you can not only adapt to survive, but actually thrive by leveraging these exciting shifts shaping our future.

How have you seen the workforce change? What have you done to adapt to these changes? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.




14 responses to “Times are Changing: Age, Sex and Our Future (1 of 2)”

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  2. Awesome stuff, Darren. I’m so glad to see someone noticing the changing landscape and going with the flow.

    I’d like to go even further, to me these changes aren’t just about “the workforce”, gender, and age — they’re about people finding what they’re passionate about.

    The current economic landscape is evolving, true, but predicting “how” it’ll do so is another matter.

    The industrial age “needed” more bodies, more workers, more “cogs-in-machines”, the digital age requires something else altogether and people’s dissatisfaction with their positions in the workforce are playing a huge role.

    Vishen Lakhiani says “happiness is the new productivity”, Gary Vaynerchuk says it’s the age of people and connection, Tony Hsieh constantly talks about Culture being King. All these guys make some interesting predictions — and they all kind of ‘trump’ gender/age division, it seems.

  3. Hi Darren,

    I have personally seen many women, as well as men, come to the realization that to be truly fulfilled and whole, the need to be in alignment with a greater good, is a must.

  4. Hi Darren, very informative article, thank you for your thoughts. How have I seen the workplace change? The workplace is overcrowded. Employees that should retire — don’t — because their 401k’s can’t support them. Employees that are disgruntled and should find a new career — don’t — because they have nowhere else to go. The younger generation doesn’t want anything to do with this (and the job opportunities are scarce) so they are freelancing, creating blogs, contracting out their skills and leveraging their online savvy to capitalize on this information age we’re in. They are learning some great skills about entrepreneurship, but missing out on learning leadership and team-building skills.

    As for me, I’m 32 and caught in the middle. I work my day job and then go home at night and work on my blog. I’m going to keep both doors open.. we’ll see what happens.

  5. Darren, thanks so much for sharing these stats! While I’ve viewed info like this before, it has generally been monolithic ( i.e how this will effect corporate America) rather than how these trends impact the whole society. I also appreciate how you included info about stay-at-home dads and other trends that are often not included.

    One thing to consider are the changes that might NOT take place even thought the demographics are changing. While there might be more women in the workforce, are they doing the “work” needed to break the glass ceiling? Getting mentors AND sponsors, learning how to negotiate and other key tools that are needed for entrepreneurs and those working in a job. And while Millenials are moving into the executive ranks, have they received the coaching they need to really LEAD? And not just manage.

    This speaks to me about the importance of publications like SUCCESS. And it’s not enough to read it. You’ve got to be willing to make it a part of your life.

  6. DH my friend I am sooooooo glad you added GENERATIONS to the discussion.. As you know I work in the real world and it just pains me to see BABY BOOMER AND GEN X management try to bring the whip they were raised on to the GEN Y EMPLOYEES who will simply take the approach that they want to be treated as adults or they will walk. They are sooooo bright and have so much to offer, but REQUIRE RESPECT AT ALL COSTS!!! WE CAN USE THEIR HELP BUT WE MUST SEE IT AS SUCH! They will not accept the indentured servant mentality!!

    Thanks so much for recognizing this!! Have a magical day!!!

  7. Very Interesting article, i have found in my design work there is now a lot more women interested, in Architecture, Design , Engineering, & Interior Design, there are also a lot of men in this field, but a lot less men since the recession , and also a lot less design work also , so its really tightened up , with a lot of the men either loosing their business, or not being able to find work in this area, also , because times have changed, the incomes have dropped, and with this happening, the design work which used to pay well, no longer pays the bills, or the house on one income, as it used to , and the out goings keep going up as they always do, so more and more we are , being sort of shunted into other areas, forced to work longer hours, or change direction altogether, my self am finding that i am now working online in the evenings on other projects, to make up the short fall, and making some major changes in direction, to replace my income, as the old 8-5 or 6 or 7 pm is no longer a solution, and am having to take matter into my own hands to build my own income and not rely on my boss , as was the thinking of a generation ago, when my parents were about, those times are now a thing of the past. some comments on this would be good. thanks for listening make it a great day Theo

  8. Great article Darren! A classic example of riding the sea of change. As a work-from-home/stay-at-home Dad, I have contributed to this NEW trend. I made a change from the corporate world to full-time business owner last July. Mainly, I wanted more flexibility and more time with my family, which has been a success. I have noticed more and more Dad’s following this same path, so their is no doubt this trend will keep rising. Also, if I may forecast the future for a moment, I think we will see an increase in husband and wives starting a business and working together. This is what my wife and I did and it is definitely catching on. Especially, with couples in their 20’s & 30s.

  9. Darren, while we have all seen the great divide in pay and employment, you are right. It is time you either move or get out of the way. With the ever changing needs of our companies and our economy, CEO’s are looking for the more proficient tools for business, and not just your gender. Those that adhere to the draconian business models, will be eating primitive dust. compared to the other companies who adapt to the change, enabling them cutting edge advantages over their competitors. We appreciate your postive post and love the challenges you present to help us grow personally and professionally. Thank you so much my friend!

  10. How have you seen the workforce change? Yes.

    What have you done to adapt to these changes? Become the employer of choice, step up our employee retention to 90% + by creating the best place to work and attract / recruit by maintaining high standards for competency, integrity, willingness to work hard and hungry for personal growth.

    Result- We’ll grow our business by 10% this year, add 25 new jobs to our already 200 + work force and increase our margins.