Women Working More Hours In Covid Crisis Than Thought, Study Finds | Business

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The average working hours of women in the UK have been significantly less affected during the pandemic than those of men, according to the Resolution Foundation.

Defying predictions of “secession” at the start of the pandemic, the thinktank’s quarterly labor market report found that women were not as badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as initially thought.

Early evidence suggested that women – many of whom work in poorly paid and severely affected industries such as retail – were significantly more likely than men to lose their jobs. However, while the situation for working mothers has been difficult, a different picture has emerged for all women in the past year.

The employment rate for men has fallen by 2.4% since the start of the crisis, driven by a sharp drop in self-employment. This is a much sharper drop than the 0.8% drop for women. Full-time female employment actually increased during the crisis.

And while work hours overall declined during the pandemic, the average childless woman was working more than her pre-crisis hours in early 2021, with an average increase of 5% since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Overall, the decline in total hours worked for women was about a third less than that for men. The think tank said this was in part due to the dominance of women in the public sector, including education and health, where they make up 70% of the workforce and where employment has been. relatively stable.

It also reflects the continuation of pre-crisis trends, as women worked longer hours to protect stagnant household incomes.

However, the situation is different for working parents. Last July, when businesses began to reopen but schools remained closed, mothers’ working hours fell by almost a quarter (24%) from their pre-crisis level, a decrease four times greater than that of fathers (drop of 6%) and almost twice that of non-parents (- 13%).

While the gap between mothers and fathers had largely closed in January, nearly one in five mothers (18%) said they had adjusted their work habits to accommodate childcare or childcare. home schooling, compared to 13% of fathers.

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The UK job market looks more promising as retail and most hotels have opened since mid-April. Salaried employment has increased for five consecutive months and vacancies are picking up, although they remain below pre-pandemic levels, official figures show.

Hannah Slaughter, economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The overall impact of the crisis has been much more gender-equal than expected. But with the crisis still with us and the future of homeworking uncertain, the lasting impact of the crisis on gender is still very uncertain. “

The think tank noted that fewer women than men report wanting to return to the office full-time – a change that could potentially hurt their long-term career prospects if office attendance continues to influence salary increases. and promotions.

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