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Businesswoman in a pandemic

COVID and Women in the Workforce – How the Pandemic has Affected Women

While new and continuing jobless claims have been declining, it’s apparent that the pandemic is affecting some demographic groups more than others.  In a previous post I wrote about the resiliency we’ve seen in certain sectors like IT and Healthcare that have historically outperformed during economic downturns.  Now, I’m taking a look at the impact of COVID on women workers in the U.S. 

 

The U.S. Department of Labor reported over 700,000 jobs were eliminated in the first wave of pandemic layoffs in late March; nearly 60% of those jobs were held by women.  A recent article in the Harvard Business Review reported that women’s jobs are 1.8x more vulnerable to this crisis than those of men.  The hospitality industry, along with other high-contact places of business, employ more women than men – with many of these businesses still completely shuttered.  At a global level, the workforce is made up of 39% women, but they accounted for 54% of overall pandemic related job losses as of May 2020. For a population that already experiences salary disparities relative to their male counterparts, this is yet another challenging blow.  

 

After a steady decline following the last recession, women’s labor force participation started climbing around 2015.  This growth, along with rising wages, helped boost overall household income according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Some economists believe the pandemic will have a lasting impact –well past 2021 –as more women may leave the workforce permanently.  One of the drivers of this trend is that women are often expected to bear the brunt of household duties and family care both domestically and abroad.  These responsibilities have been magnified during the pandemic, as schools continue to operate remotely and many daycares have failed to reopen.

 

At PeopleCaddie, we’ve been fortunate to help several amazing women who were adversely impacted by the pandemic.  In one case, a mother needed a more flexible work situation and felt that contract employment would allow her to still maintain her skills and contribute financially on her terms.  

 

In another situation, we had the opportunity to help a worker return to her previous employer following a layoff.  The company was forced to trim their workforce in the spring, but started to see demand increase over the summer.  They didn’t have full-time headcount approval yet for this fiscal year but needed the specific expertise that she possessed.  We were able to bring her back as a contractor while helping the client meet their demand.

 

It’s my hope that as increased attention is brought to the unique challenges often faced by women in the workforce more employers will take notice and develop targeted programs to assist them. At PeopleCaddie, we are committed to doing so and becoming even stronger advocates.

 

Sources:

https://www.npr.org/2020/04/08/829141182/women-are-losing-more-jobs-in-coronavirus-shutdowns

https://hbr.org/2020/09/dont-let-the-pandemic-set-back-gender-equality

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/united-states-female-employment-covid19/

Sara CaputoCOVID and Women in the Workforce – How the Pandemic has Affected Women

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