What We Can Do to Break the Gender Imbalance in the Workplace
Women in the workforce have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. But how will the gender imbalance affect our economy? Studies show that our economy is strongest when our labor force is equally diverse. However, businesses are struggling to rehire women. For explanations as to why this is occurring, see our previous blog, Women Leaving the Workforce. If nothing is done to directly address the conflict of unequal employment, our economy will never reach the level of success it had prior to the pandemic. Although things look ominous, there are ways we can repair our economy and motivate women to return to the workforce.
Eliminate the Gender Bias
Working women saw more disruption throughout the pandemic than working men because of the preexisting gender bias in both the workplace and home life. Women’s societal expectations has been to raise children and take care of the home, later converting those responsibilities to careers in hospitality, education, and care. These industries are made up of 75% women and they were hit the hardest during the pandemic. Industries dominated by men such as information technology, government, and finance, were less impacted by COVID-19. Following this pandemic, our society needs to redirect the career path for men and women, breaking the gender divide by creating equal opportunities across all industries. It’s starts with education, but it ends with the job market. As an experienced IT staffing firm, The Remy Corporation understands the importance of diversity in the workplace. Throughout this pandemic, we have focused on providing our clients with diverse candidate selections while maintaining an equally diverse staff. Employers should consider the same approach when hiring new employment. (See Company Culture: How Diversity Will Lead to Success).
As discussed in our previous blog (Women Leaving the Workforce), our country has made great strides toward gender wage equality, however the gap is still prevalent. On average women are still making $0.82 to the men’s rate of $1.00, with an even greater difference for minorities. Most positions that were terminated or furloughed during the pandemic, are now opening again for rehire. However, we are seeing significantly lower offers than before for the same position and responsibilities. Understandably, many businesses are still struggling with residual financial setbacks. Yet for some, these lower wage offers are not persuading individuals to return to the job market, especially for women who have already withstood wage discrimination. Therefore, most of the open positions are being offered to men. Employers should budget based on the position’s requirements, not on the individual. As an IT Staffing firm, too often do we see higher rates offered to some over others for the exact same position. We understand experience level is important when negotiating pay rate. However, by simply changing the title and seniority level to match the rate in the offer letter, will help avoid suspicions of unfairness in the workplace. Also, by creating equal opportunities for promotions and leadership positions will encourage women to not only return but thrive in the job market. Currently there are legal discussions in place that will impact companies hiring and equal employment methods. But until then, employers should offer equal pay and opportunity to everyone.
More Work-Life Flexibility
Parental pressures were significant justifications for women leaving the workforce. And with the radical adjustment, many families have developed new routines that do not involve commuting to the office every day. Readapting to a nine to five work schedule may push some women away from the idea of returning to work. As the economy reopens, companies should consider offering more flexible work-life balance policies. Ways this can be accomplished would be offering full-time or part-time remote work, more PTO, flexible work schedules and more required vacation time. Whether for temporary leave or termination, the longer someones stays out of work, the longer it takes to find another job or adjust to a new schedule. Employers should act fast in offering more flexibility. You don’t want to lose a qualified worker because they were forced to choose between work and family.
This pandemic was devastating for our economy, and everyone involved. We are living in a new normal now, therefore we can’t expect people to go back to how things were prior to COVID-19. It is our duty as a society to work together and adapt to the new changes that COVID-19 has forced us into. The job market is starting to look up. We are in an employee job market now. So, if you or someone you know is looking for a job that’s rewarding, financially sufficient and has work-life flexibility, the Remy Corporation has plenty of opportunities available. Let’s get this economy back to where it was by getting everyone back to work!
- Silva, Daniella & Miranda, Leticia (2021, February 6). About 2750,000 Women Left Workforce in January in ‘Critical’ Pandemic Trend, Experts Say. [Blog post] Received from https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/about-275-000-women-left-workforce-january-critical-pandemic-trend-n1256942
- Edwards, Kathryn A. (2020, November 24). Women Are Leaving The Labor Force in Record Numbers. [Blog Post]. Received from https://www.rand.org/blog/2020/11/women-are-leaving-the-labor-force-in-record-numbers.html
- S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021, April 02). Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age. [Economic New Release]. Received from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm
- Cerullo, Megan. (2021, February 5). Nearly 3 Million U.S. Women Have Dropped Out of the Labor Force in the Past Year. [Blog Post: CBS News]. Received from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-crisis-3-million-women-labor-force/
- Roy, Anusha – 9NEWS. (2021, February 16). Women are Exiting the Workforce During the Pandemic at a Faster Rate than Men in Colorado. [Blog Post]. Received from https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/next/unemployment-covid-colorado/73-06df991f-4991-4986-a7a4-c6d5db8ac478
- McKinsey & Company. (2021, March 8). Seven Charts that Show COVID-19’s Impact on Women’s Employment. [Article]. Received From https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/seven-charts-that-show-covid-19s-impact-on-womens-employment