Women Exiting Workforce As Men Enter Jobs
A new Royal Bank report reveals that men are entering the job market at three times the rate of their female colleagues amid the challenges and new opportunities created by the global health crisis. In terms of the actual figures, the report states that between February and October alone, over 20,000 women exited the workforce, while more than 68,000 men joined made an entrance.
The challenge posed by this, said Royal Bank deputy chief economist and co-author of the report, Dawn Desjardins, is that the gender driven pattern of exit-and-enter could lead to the slowing of the global economy’s recovery, and especially so in industries typically dominated by women.
The economy can only achieve ongoing growth rates in a strong and resilient manner in the event that women do in fact re-enter the job market, said Desjardins.
Young Women Exiting A Concern
As for where the women leaving the job market are going, returning to school and staying home to rear children, are according to Desjardins and co-author Carrie Freestone seemingly the two main catalysts. Especially alarming, say the authors, is the fact that those women exiting the workforce are mostly aged between 20 and 24, and 35 and 39.
Alarming too is that, unlike their male counterparts who appear to be actively looking to find ways to re-enter the job market, women who have lost their jobs amid and/or as a result of the global crisis neither appear to have been officially laid off/furloughed, or even interested in looking for a new job or means of earning even a temporary living.
Another possible cause for at least a fraction of the dynamic seen to be taking place is a noticeable reduction in capacity for new intakes by daycare centers. Women who are working in such cases left with no alternative but to leave the workforce and take care of their young children instead. This particular trend is obviously impacting mostly women with small children under the age of six.
Flexibility A Possible Solution
The report also refers to specific periods of departure across several named industries. Of the 48,000+ workers who in October lost their jobs across the Canadian retail, food service, and accommodation industries, at least 80% were in fact women. Since these are industries usually largely dominated by women, the obvious outcome has been that of women accounting for roughly twice the share of the labour participation downturn.
As for possible solutions to the dilemma, Desjardins says it is important for companies to begin practising empathy with the challenges faced by women on a much larger and more encompassing scale. Flexible work hours accommodating those tasked with caring for children, the sick, or the elderly, would be an example of one way in which to achieve this, said the author.