Over the last several months, personal and professional life have become one, merged for many under a single roof. It’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has upended every aspect of normal life – but what’s less clear is how these changes will impact the way we work – and live – in the months, years and decades to come.
It’s a subject of particular relevance to working women, who have been disproportionately affected by this crisis. This is due in part to overrepresentation in the types of jobs being eliminated or furloughed, such as service industry positions in hospitality, travel, retail and childcare. There are also fewer women in senior management positions, which are less likely to see layoffs. At the start of the pandemic, in March, 60% of jobs lost in the U.S. belonged to women. By May, the unemployment rate for women was 14.3% vs 11.9% for men. Women now make up 49% of the American workforce, after briefly outnumbering men on payrolls in late 2019.
For women who haven’t lost their jobs, work-life balance pressures are mounting. According to a recent survey conducted by Syndio, 14% of women are considering quitting their jobs due to family demands created by the COVID-19 crisis, versus 11% of men. The pressure is even higher for multicultural women: 26% of Hispanic women and 15% of Black and Asian women are considering quitting.
The immediate impact is staggering, but the long-term impact might be just as detrimental. After we’ve secured our health – and restructured our lives accordingly – organizations everywhere will need to continue to step up for their employees, many of whom will be especially vulnerable.
“This crisis has taught us that employees – from new hires to CEOs – can successfully lead, influence and progress work virtually. That’s something we shouldn’t unlearn.”
Deanna Bass, Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion, P&G