Women are going to secure two-thirds of highly-skilled jobs in the next six years, according to new research.
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKES) has found that by 2020, 49 per cent of females will have degree-level qualifications, up from 38 per cent in 2014. This will see men left lagging behind, as only 44 per cent are expected to reach this level in the same time period.
This means the gender gap is set to widen in the medium term, with women's skills and qualifications improving faster than men's.
HR departments could therefore use the next six years to overturn any historic lack of gender diversity in the workplace, as there will be plenty of quality female candidates seeking highly-skilled positions. It also presents HR leaders with an opportunity to define their function as integral to the strategic objectives of their companies.
Good news for gender diversity
Frances O'Grady, the first female general secretary of the TUC and a commissioner at UKCES, welcomed the projected increase in skills, as she believes this will lead to better pay, working conditions and job satisfaction.
However, she noted plenty of women are still finding their paths to better jobs blocked, despite possessing the necessary education and experience.
"Tackling inequality - in skills, qualifications and pay, and for both sexes - is essential if we are to have a prosperous and stable future," she added.
A rich talent pool
Michael Davis, chief executive of UKCES, is delighted that the UK is going to see an increase in the number of highly-skilled workers it has. He pointed out this means employers will have better access to "the skills they need when recruiting".
"[These projections] highlight the importance of employers continuing to develop the skills of all of their employees to ensure that businesses compete successfully and the economy continues to grow," he remarked.
With the number of people in the UK holding a degree or equivalent set to reach 48 per cent by 2020, the country is also going to find itself above both the US and most European nations in terms of qualifications.