#YesSheCan In-Depth: Women’s Careers and COVID

No one can deny that it’s been a rough year for all of us.

The pandemic has completely shifted our professional and personal lives from how we see our loved ones to how we communicate with the world.

Another area which has noticeably been impacted the most is the UK job market. Economic activity was down by 30% during the lockdown in 2020 and many businesses had to temporarily close and stop trading. A group that has been particularly hit in this job market is women.

In this blog, we’ll be going through the hard-hitting stats that show the big impact that this has had on the careers of many women during the pandemic.

Women’s Careers & COVID

Over the last year and a half, unemployment in the UK has seen a 10% increase. 9% was seen amongst men and the biggest percentage of 11% was amongst women. This included a rise in redundancies from the previous 46,000 to 143,000 during the pandemic for women.

Many of the businesses in the UK market which halted work were industries such as retail and hospitality. However, 57% of workers in those industries were women –meaning their careers took a big hit more than others. The reason that women take up a big percentage of these sectors is because they are more likely to have the opportunity to work flexibly or part-time. This is important for many women as they need flexibility for childcare, religious commitments, and to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Women Of Colour

Women of colour careers have definitely been hit the hardest during the pandemic. Including those of all ages, this group of women were already in unstable and unsecure jobs; meaning their careers were the first ones which felt the effect of the pandemic. Just over a fifth of these women who had previously been furloughed from their jobs have now lost them.

As well as the pandemic massively impacting the stability and guarantee of their careers, 50% of women of colour are worried about their overall career and the possibility of being promoted after the pandemic eases.

Adding to the impact felt from the pandemic, other barriers that women of colour feel regularly is the racial bias they find when applying for and working in their jobs. This is a huge problem for many women in these women when talking about their identity and background. They believe that this has a big effect on opportunities given to them compared to white job-seekers.

MOTHERS/PARENTS

Not only have parents experienced a big gap in their family lives and childcare during the pandemic, it has also impacted their careers.

According to a report made by the House of Commons, mothers were 1.5 times more likely than fathers to have either lost of quit a job since the pandemic started. This means that unemployment rates for women will most likely stay the same whilst men’s jobs will bemore likely to recover after the pandemic eases.

Likewise, women who are returning to work after maternity often downgrade to a lower paying job. This suggests that now the pandemic is easing, women may return to careers that don’t fit their skills-set appropriately because of the lack of understanding and inclusion within businesses.

These are hard-hitting facts and statistics and there is no doubt that women across the country have been faced by one or more of these career challenges this past year. It’s not all doom and gloom though and the tough year women have had can be turned around positively.

At #YesSheCan we aim to support and educate businesses with our diversity and inclusion masterclasses and workshops to ensure all women have an equal chance in their careers. We know that businesses can make an active difference in many ways to help and support women back into their careers now that the pandemic is easing. They can do these by making changes such as D&I but also by showing role models and understanding their own unconscious bias.

Keep a look out for part 2 of this in-depth topic. We explain how businesses can encourage women back into their careers. This includes facing and helping to resolve issues that women experience in their careers such as gender inequality, diversity and inclusion and lack of role models.

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