Are women taking the brunt of the pandemic?

Are women taking the brunt of the pandemic?

During the last fifty years, at least, companies all over the UK have enjoyed an influx of female workers, across every sector.

At the beginning of the pandemic, women even outnumbered men at work. However, when Covid-19 came on the scene, this changed. In the UK today, just 56% of females of working age are in the workplace, compared to 68% of men.
More women were furloughed than men during 2020/21. Mothers, in particular, were five times more likely than fathers to be made redundant as a consequence of the pandemic. And, although it’s not the same set-up in every household, in most families, it was the women who took annual leave/time off during lockdowns to cover childcare. Schools may be open, but with Omicron still rife, plenty of women will be forced to stay home with little Charlie or Charlotte if their class succumbs to an outbreak of the virus.

Some experts believe that the pandemic has set women back decades when it comes to equality and the gender pay gap.

According to statistics, women tend to take lower-paid, low-quality jobs, in comparison to their male counterparts. Jobs in which bosses often treat their employees as dispensable or which exploit their workers’ vulnerabilities. Around 90% of lone families are single mums, who are often forced to put up with less-than-desirable working conditions just to keep a job that fits around school hours/their childcare arrangements.

Of course, some industries remain traditionally male or female. Farmers and construction workers are predominantly male, whilst the roles of carer, nurse and cleaner are typically taken by women. Whilst some would argue this plays to each gender’s inherent skills, i.e. it’s natural for many females to want to nurture others and it’s instinctive for many men to build shelters and ensure an abundance of food; however, there’s also the train of thought that, in 2022, this is more likely down to societal construct than genetics at play.

So, how can recruiters shift the balance and bring more women into the workplace?

Ask their opinion

It’s difficult for men to know what women are looking for in a job vacancy. If you’re in any doubt, or you work in a male-dominated company/space, conduct some market research amongst women to ensure the wording, tone and description of the position’s duties appeal to women just as much as they do to men.

Bear in mind that, according to research, a woman is more likely to apply for a role if she matches 100% of the advertised criteria, whereas men will apply even if they carry just 60% of its desired attributes.

Promote relevant initiatives

You may run a scheme that helps mothers get back into the workplace after raising a family, or you may heavily promote diversity across the roles you advertise. If so, make sure these initiatives are clear on your website and literature. Show how much you support inclusivity.
Emphasise flexibility to your clients
Many women need flexible hours to fit around school drop off/pick up times, or they’ve found how much easier it is to juggle the impact of the pandemic, e.g. home-schooling, when working remotely. Neither of these options have a negative impact on the majority of roles, though some of your clients may need educating on this fact. If they were to offer true flexibility, it’s likely that more women would apply for their vacancies.

Think of your imagery

If the photos accompanying an advertised position (or the first images that pop up when someone clicks on the link to apply) are solely of men from the company, this could put some women off. If you want to promote inclusivity of all genders, races and ages, it’s recommended this attitude is reflected in the imagery you use.
The pandemic is far from over, but there’s a lot of work to do to get back to where things were in terms of equality in the workplace and active diversity and inclusion.

Fast Recruitment Websites specialise in recruitment website design. Your website forms part of the recruitment process, as candidates seek out more information about you and the roles you have on offer. Is your What does it say about your agency? For advice from the experts, contact us on 01302 288591.

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