The pandemic has changed plenty of things about how we all work, and women are starting to become more ambitious than men in their careers, according to a new study.

Covid has seen women become more ambitious about the future of learning and their careers than men, especially in coding and STEM, researchers have found.

According to a new UK and global report launched by FutureLearn and YouGov, women are taking a lead in science, engineering and maths. 55% of women surveyed, versus 44.5% of men, enrolled in science courses in 2020.

45% of women (versus 39% of men) believe education has the power to make the world a better place and lessen violence. 

40% of women (compared to 35% of men) agree they are likely to take an online course in the next five years to develop personally. 

‘With areas like engineering, pharmacy, accounting and architecture, we’re seeing more women now go into those areas because we’ve campaigned about it,’ says Ranata Hughes from Florida A&M University.

The study reveals ten key global trends in learning including; women believing that education has the power to make the world a better place, real progress being made around the inclusivity and accessibility of learning, the younger generation is accelerating change in education with online learning increasing, and ‘jobs for life’ are rapidly on the decline. 

Ranata adds that more women are choosing to ‘study traditionally male-dominated sectors, such as engineering, pharmacy and accounting due to online accessibility.’

In parallel to this research, tech and coding courses on FutureLearn are surging with female learners, 350% more people took a tech and coding course in 2020, compared to 2019, and driving the trend is women who make up 54% of those learners. 

Additionally, women believe education will be directly empowering people to solve the world’s biggest issues such as the climate crisis, environmental and corporate sustainability, human rights and access to justice in the future (38%).

As well as believing education can help the world, women feel it can better help their wellbeing; 35% of women globally want to learn more about nutrition, diet and physical health, while 38% want to expand their knowledge on mental health and mindfulness. Improving personal  confidence (52%) and expanding their interests as well as hobbies (46%) also featured highly as motivations to learn.

In the next five years, those in Australia (43%) and the USA (40%) are more likely than Brits (33%) to take an online course to expand their knowledge for personal development as people’s priorities shift when looking at the impact of the pandemic. 

Roughly a third (32%) of people surveyed feel they do not currently have the skills needed to set up a business in the next 10 years. A quarter of Australians (25%) followed by 20% of Americans and 21% of Brits, would prefer to work in a different industry altogether in 2030.

Interestingly, according to SEEK, Australian jobs platform, 72% of jobseekers who had at least one job in the last two years held 5-10 jobs every five years, illustrating the ‘job for life’ is becoming or may now have already become a thing of the past for most people. 

The report comes as the biggest work perks for 2021 have been revealed as working from home allowances and wellbeing perks – further showing how the pandemic is shaping the future of work and careers.

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