Nowadays, the position of female and male employees in the labor market may be still characterized as unequal and unjust. To put it more precisely, in spite of all the efforts on the national and international levels, females still have lower opportunities to get a well-paid job compared to men, while their career opportunities are even lower since now the overwhelming majority of CEOs is still male. On the other hand, it is necessary to underline the fact that throughout the 20th century there were substantial changes which contributed to the improvement of the position of women in the labor market and gradually they become more competitive than they used to be in the past.
Speaking about the position of employees it is necessary to point out that the changes that occurred within the 20th century may be viewed from different or even contradictive viewpoints. But what is really undeniable is the fact that the life of employees has changed dramatically.
Firstly, it should be said that the 20th century is marked as the period of an unparalleled economic growth, which to a great extent is due to the industrial revolution and intensive industrialization, which have been started earlier. The rapid development of technologies, especially at the second half and the end of the 20th century have changed the traditional lifestyle completely, especially that of the employees.
In fact what happened, especially in well developed countries may be called as a gradual decline of employees as a social layer because due to the development of high technologies, especially IT, the spread of automatic manufacturing, etc. led to the mechanization of manufacturing process and there is less need in manual labor as it was at the beginning of the century for instance. In such a way the percentage rate of employees in society is permanently declining while such professions become less and less prestigious.
However, the opponents of such viewpoint may argue that the situation in the developing countries is quite different and there is need in employees. But in actuality the explanation is quite simple. Firstly, the developed countries has practically passed the period of industrialization and what is observed in these countries may be called and often is called the ”˜post-industrial society’ where employees have a little room to occupy in national wealth share, while the developing countries basically are just on there way to industrialization and their aim is to achieve the level of well-developed capitalist, industrial countries. Naturally, to achieve this goal they have to develop their industries that is hardly possible without employees. Nonetheless, the contemporary technologies, being widely applied in the West and other developed countries, are used over and over again in developing countries basically due to the process of globalization that means that the position of employees in developing countries would be soon similar to that in developing countries nowadays while in post-industrial world employees would rather be a kind of archaism especially if the process of globalization were continued.
At this point it is necessary to underline that such a progress of developed countries is based on industrialization that was made mainly with labor force, which employees represent. At the same time, it should be said that initially the conditions of work were much worse than it is at the present moment. In fact it concerns not only employees earnings but their work places, social protection, etc. the same may be said about their everyday life.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the conditions of life and work of employees have significantly improved by the end of the century, the level of their lives compared to other social layers or classes remained practically unchanged.
What is meant here is that even though the income of an average employee and his spending abilities are higher than they have ever been before but still it remains quite low compared to the middle class in developed countries for instance, or privileged class in developing countries where the gap between rich and poor is particularly wide.
As the result, it is possible to say that the work of employees have become relatively easier, better paid and socially guaranteed, their social status is still quite low while their future is quite obscure in the context of the development of post-industrial society.
The changes in the position of female employees within the 20th century seem to be particularly dramatic. The reason is that, in the context of general changes that occurred to all employees, female employees are absolutely different if taken at the beginning and at the end of the 20th century.
First of all, it should be said that a female employee at the beginning of the 20th century even in such a democratic country as the US was quite rare practice, and to a certain extent it was socially shocking since traditionally females were basically occupied with households and their families while the job was on the background.
However, the industrialization and development of new technologies provided female employees with opportunities to work along with males because there was less demand in physical force that made both female and male practically equal. The latter means that, by the end of the 20th century, there was no reason why female employees should occupy with their households only that made women more socially and, what is even more important, economically independent. In such a situation the shift from family orientation at the beginning of the 20th century to work orientation by the end of the century is particularly obvious.
Moreover, the changes on the legislative level stimulated the elimination of the discrimination of females in the process of recruitment and employment, while their level of earnings had started to increase and in some areas it tends to reach the level of earnings of male employees. The international legislation guarantees that female should have equal rights and opportunities (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights). However, female employees in the US still cannot catch up with male employees. In fact, nowadays it is impossible to speak about the total elimination of discrimination or closing the gap between earnings of male and female employees since the latter still earn less and more often are employed in a part-time jobs compared to males.
Thus, in conclusion, it is important to underline that the inequality in the position of female and male employees in the labor market persist, though the legislative changes and current positive trends make the perspective of the equality of male and female employees more probable than it has ever been before. However, it is still only a future perspective but not a part of the today real life.