Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, statistics have begun to worryingly prove the global health crisis is disproportionately disadvantaging women - especially, women in the workforce. The economic uncertainty that has come in the wake of lockdowns globally has been labelled a 'she-cession', with more women than men being negatively impacted by the changing world order.
More than a million jobs have been lost in Australia, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing overall employment decreased by 7.5 per cent between March 14 and April 18. In that, it showed that female employment dropped by 8.1 per cent while male employment fell by 6.2 per cent, with female-dominated industries such as retail and hospitality particularly more affected.
Now, LinkedIn has revealed new Economic Graph data showing that not only has Australia's hiring been stalled but that the pandemic is also impacting gender parity in the local workforce. Lockdown measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus proved to have a more severe impact on the share of women being hired, with the hiring of female workers following a U-shape trajectory, dipping to its lowest in April and May.
The study also found women are feeling significantly less confident about their future work prospects in comparison to men. Throughout the pandemic, women have taken on the bulk of unpaid family duties, a burden that’s undoubtedly become even more all-consuming thanks to the ‘new normal’ of working from home, social distancing and self-isolation.
RELATED: How The Economic Shock Of COVID-19 Is Impacting The Female Workforce
Associate Professor Alysia Blackham, who researches workplace discrimination and inequality at the University of Melbourne, told SBS News that the pandemic was magnifying already existing inequalities in the Australian workforce. “Women were already overrepresented in insecure work and are more likely to be on casual contracts with no paid leave entitlements, so there is no obligation to employ them on an ongoing basis or ensure certain hours,” she told the outlet.
To avoid losing the progress made on gender parity in the workplace, LinkedIn's data urges employers to be flexible and make accommodations to help women remain in employment. This includes more flexible working hours, remote working arrangements, and job-sharing schemes to help support women and keep them in the workforce.
“Organisations have the power to create long-term change, so there is an opportunity for business leaders to use this moment to introduce policies that will build a more equitable future," says Adam Gregory, Sr Director, LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Australia & NZ. "To continue this recovery and aim towards gender parity in the workforce, we encourage employers to be flexible and have policies in place to help all Australians stay employed.”