Adecco: Reduction in the presence of women in the labour market

The pandemic has brought about a decline in employment rates among women, according to a survey by the Adecco Group. But what is the reason for this phenomenon and how can we prevent a lost generation of women in the workplace?

Women’s health was severely burdened during the pandemic, according to the 2021 Adecco Resetting Normal Report survey, as many women suffered from burnout. Their mental health was weighed down, with stress levels for returning to the office increasing significantly.

The reasons for the increasing phenomenon of a decline in employment rates among women.

The first and most important reason is that a large percentage of women, compared to the male population, work in sectors that have been particularly affected by COVID. In particular, many women work in sectors such as tourism and retail, which have been greatly affected by the effects of the lockdown.In other fields, such as health and social care, women were at the forefront of dealing with the crisis and were working in very tight working conditions.

The same Resetting Normal Report for 2021 showed how men and women have treated the pandemic differently.In many societies women are still responsible for taking care of the home. This phenomenon increased dramatically with the closure of schools, and while all families were trying to protect their elderly relatives from the virus, it was women who took over most of the care of the household.

McKinsey and Lean In found that at the beginning of the pandemic American mothers were spending an additional five hours a day on housework. Moreover, in the households where both the man and the woman worked, when one of the two was forced to stop work, in 80% of cases it was the woman who stopped working.

How can we prevent a lost generation of women in the workplace? Adecco Group proposes three innovative solutions.

Firstly, women need to be integrated into more jobs related to technology and the digital world with the aim of accelerating rapid digital change in which women do not feel sidelined. The more important digital roles become in the economy, the lower the share occupied by women.

In order to change this trend, the role of female role models is particularly important. Many women, for example, now work as scientists in policing because they loved the character of NCIS’s Abby Scuito.

Astronaut Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go into space with the U.S. space program, said she was inspired by actress Nichelle Nichols at Star Trek. Essentially, more films and TV shows are needed with strong female personalities who are inspiring as great female leaders and scientists.

In addition, a large percentage do not prefer digital jobs because it is considered a lonely profession. The truth, however, is that most technology-related positions include a wide range of activities that also require interaction with colleagues, while at the same time depending on the subject it can provide them with the much-needed flexibility in place and time of work.

Governments and corporate bodies should speed up regulations that eliminate pay discrimination, reward businesses that implement equal treatment and equal opportunity policies for all their employees, and provide flexible training.

Companies should be asked to prove that they pay men and women on equal terms for the same work. In the fight for gender equality, the elimination of discrimination and the strengthening of the role of women in social and economic life revolves significantly around their role in the world of work.In addition, women should have priority in upskilling and reskilling programmes with the development of more digital skills training programmes that match women’s lifestyles. Podcasts are in the right direction – as they offer the opportunity for many women to train while performing other tasks, such as household care.

Societies need to think much more seriously about how to deal with the often prohibitive costs of caring for children and the elderly. In a country where the family is the main pillar of care for the elderly and children, women continue to play a leading role in caring for the home.As regards motherhood, disincentives that may additionally burden their recruitment or development should be reduced and initiatives that help them to cope with difficulties in their reintegration after having children, such as the corresponding structures, should be strengthened.

“The work of women contributes to development and social prosperity, adds wealth and utilizes the pools of human resources. Women had made decades of progress in the workplace before the pandemic partially reversed it.Through a meaningful discussion between the state and businesses we should now put this progress back on track. In all this effort we should always ensure their very important role in bringing up children, which is of inestimable value to society.”, stated Konstantinos Mylonas Cluster Head of the Adecco Group in Greece, Romania and Bulgaria.

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