Covid holds back women

Research shows unequal impact of pandemic on women’s working lives.

New research from LinkedIn has shown COVID-19 is having a detrimental impact on women’s careers. The study of more than 20,000 working professionals from around the world has found that nearly half (49 per cent) of women say their career has been set back or put on hold due to the global pandemic.

Two in five women (43 per cent) globally have left or considered leaving the workforce during the pandemic, and over a quarter (26 per cent) say their employer has offered no support. Furthermore, LinkedIn data finds that on average women globally applied to 11 per cent fewer jobs than men last year, and that women’s hiring has proven to be more vulnerable.

The research finds that almost half of women in the UK (40 per cent) and Italy (45 per cent) believe their careers have been set back or put on hold due to the pandemic, compared to 34 per cent in France and 38 per cent in Germany. Furthermore, 44 per cent of women globally say they have taken on more domestic responsibilities than their partner during the pandemic. This was experienced most by women in Brazil (59 per cent) and India (67 per cent) where women have taken on caring responsibilities not only for their children, but also for elderly and vulnerable parents and family members.

The increasing pressures on women at work and at home is making many reconsider their options. The research finds that Indian (66 per cent), American (43 per cent) and British (41 per cent) women were most likely to have left or considered leaving the workforce – temporarily or permanently. In the UK, stress (57 per cent), too much responsibility at home and work (33 per cent), and lack of childcare (14 per cent) were the top reasons cited.

According to LinkedIn’s data, on average women globally applied to 11 per cent fewer jobs compared to men last year. The countries that saw the biggest gap in women applying for roles were the U.S. (16 per cent), Mexico (15 per cent), Germany (13 per cent), Australia (12 per cent) and France (11 per cent). In the UK, women applied to 4 per cent fewer jobs than men.

More than half (56 per cent) of women in Japan say their employer has provided no support during the pandemic. The UK fared better in comparison to other European countries, with almost a third (30 per cent) of women surveyed agreeing their employer had provided mental health support and training, and another 35 per cent say they have been offered flexible working during this time.

“It’s clear that COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on women’s careers,” says Janine Chamberlin, senior director at LinkedIn. “Women have been more adversely affected by disruptions to the retail, travel and leisure industries which employ a relatively greater share of women and often aren’t remote-ready roles. Our data also clearly shows women are applying to fewer roles and are also taking on a disproportionate share of care responsibilities.

“Companies can play a major part in ensuring that we get back on track by implementing progressive workplace policies to offer greater flexibility to care givers,” she adds, “carefully considering the language of jobs adverts and employer branding to encourage female applicants, and expanding talent pools to entice a broader spectrum of talent and skills, can make a big difference when it comes to hiring more women into the workplace.”

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