I’m a Barbie girl… and I’m coming for your job.

Barbie is a cultural icon shaking up the job market one job at a time, but what does this mean for employers?

Posted: July 2023
By: Sara Johnson

From the moment Barbie was created by Mattel in 1959 she has enjoyed numerous careers, showing young girls that they can aspire to be anything they want to be.

In this blog post we discuss Barbie’s impact on influencing non-linear careers and how that a trend is influencing employment habits across the globe.

The Barbie Buzz

It’s hard to escape the Barbie buzz right now and there’s no denying it’s been a genius marketing campaign, comprising everything from an Air BnB to a car launch and a Zara collection.
Whilst we’re all excited about the movie and the ‘gold standard’ 360° comms(!) it’s also got us thinking here at B-role Towers – does Barbie follow the zeitgeist or is she a leader and a role model for the girls who want it all?  Furthermore, is this creating a nightmare for employers, and if so, what can we do about it?
From the moment Barbie was created by Mattel in 1959 she has enjoyed numerous careers, showing young girls that they can aspire to be anything they want to be. Barbie has been a fashion model, a doctor, a teacher, an athlete, an architect, an astronaut and more.
Indeed, whatever your hobbies and ambitions there was usually a Barbie with a full range of accessories to show you the way (aesthetically at least).  Over the last decade Barbie has gone to greater lengths to align with evolving cultural and social values, and we’ve seen a number of STEM field Barbies, some entrepreneurs and even a UNICEF ambassador.
We applaud Barbie for inspiring girls to dream big, challenge societal expectations, and pursue any profession they choose, but how do we feel about ‘multiple career Barbie’ and what is she doing for the employers of today?  Non-linear careers are extremely common now and the traditional notion of a single career path has evolved for a variety of reasons.

70% of the workforce is actively looking for a change in career

Go Remotely, 2023
The rise of the gig economy and freelance work brought people more flexibility and autonomy in their careers. Many professionals now have multiple jobs, projects, or entrepreneurial ventures running simultaneously, rather than following a linear progression within a single organisation.
The number of freelancers and self-employed in the UK has been steadily rising and according the Office for National Statistics, in 2020 there were around 5 million self-employed workers in the UK.
Overall, whether employed or self-employed, the prevailing trend in 2023 is towards career fluidity, adaptability, and diversification.  Indeed, this is fast becoming the ‘new normal’ and there is even a dedicated podcast supporting people through their non-linear professional journey. (The Squiggly Careers podcast)

Around 15% of the UK workforce are self employed

Office for National Statistics, 2020

It’s clear to see how this trend for non-linear ‘Barbie style’ careers has developed, and whilst it might be great for employees, is it as good for employers?  

Actually no. This trend for squiggly careers has made things even harder for employers already fighting to draw the best people into their organisations.  Whereas employers have previously competed against each other for top talent, now they’re competing against the wider concept of freedom, flexibility and personal growth.
So where does this leave them?  Do you compete to hire the best and accept that they won’t stay for long? (Is it better to have the best for a short time than average for longer?) Or do you build flexibility and growth into your employer brand proposition, and ensure that it’s communicated at every possible touchpoint.
Do you build your organisation around the wants and needs of your workforce, as well as your customer, and do you invest time and resource into a robust employee engagement programme to keep them focussed and committed to your cause?

Is the squiggly careers trend having an impact on your companies recruitment?

Here at B-role we consider your workforce your most important audience, and can help you develop an employer brand that attracts the best, and keeps them with you.  Give us a call when you’re ready to chat.
Get in touch

You might also like…

Co workers are smiling and talking gathered around an ipad screen

5 Factors Your Future Employees Are Looking For

rEAD More

Are you looking for talent that’s not looking for you?

read more
Get the scoop
Get exclusive news and insight into employer brand behaviours straight to your inbox
sign up


Over 90% of our rebranding projects have seen significant results in sales, Culture and business growth.

An informal meeting around a table. You can see 2 people smiling and listening with laptops on the table in front of them.

Get in touch

If you consider yourself to be a disruptor and share our passion for results driven ideas, we’d love to hear from you.

Follow the role...


B-role is part of the Black & Ginger family of creative businesses.

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from - Youtube
Consent to display content from - Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from - Google