The potential knock-on could have a detrimental effect on the economic gender gap - widening it beyond the current 40%.
“The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) and future proofing are the current buzz-phrases in business, but what we are really looking at is the emergence of an entirely new economy,” says Dr Sharron McPherson, co-founder and executive director of the Centre for Disruptive Technologies.
How can women stay relevant and future-proof their careers going into the next century?
The solution it seems may be as simple as re-evaluating, contemplating and upgrading your skills set.
“Working in predominantly male-dominated jobs and industries, with the exception of the clothing and textile industry in South Africa, women in blue-collar positions often hold jobs that support entire families on a single income,” said Dr Lize Barclay, senior lecturer in Futures Studies and Systems Thinking at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). She is also a contributor to the 2018 SA Board for People Practices
According to Barclay, there are still high levels of segregation around gender with regard to which jobs are “acceptable” for women.
Then there’s the issue of slow progress being made when it comes to enticing them into artisan jobs with financial and career potential.
The 4IR appears to be unlocking the potential for blue-collar workers, and females, in particular, to carve a new future for themselves.
For her, the solution is simple: businesses should rather rethink employment structures and harness the opportunity of technology to empower women in the workplace.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE