Employment trends during the coronavirus pandemic
Women's employment is declining
KL – 02/2021
A new study has examined occupational trends within the EU during the coronavirus pandemic
and it found gender differences between men and women. Before the coronavirus
pandemic - or more precisely, between 2005 and 2019 - the female employment
rate had increased significantly in the EU. Even the financial crisis in 2008
did not affect the steady upward trend in the female employment rate.
coronavirus pandemic, with its negative trend, is having a more severe impact
on women's employment than on men's employment.
study blamed this development on a number of factors:
Europe, men are more likely to be employed in occupations that are classed as
essential economic sectors, with the exception of nursing care. These include
occupations in agriculture, transport and security such as the police. This
meant that men were more extensively protected than women from job losses
during the lockdown.
service sector, which involves direct contact with customers and consumers and
for which working from a home office is not an option, has also been hit harder
by the coronavirus pandemic. Examples of this are sectors such as cosmetics,
hairdressing, the hospitality industry as well as the tourism and travel
industry. The proportion of women working in this service sector is 61%.
are more likely than men to work part-time, in temporary or precarious jobs and
are also more likely to have poor social protection. Since the beginning of the
pandemic, they have also taken on the greater share of the childcare required
and are therefore, less available to the labour market.
European level, several legislative initiatives and directives have been
adopted in recent years to promote women's employment throughout Europe. We
last reported on the European Commission's Gender Equality Strategy 2020 - 2025
Further need for action
of the results of the study, greater efforts are needed to further increase the
female employment rate and to promote the female social protection. On the one
hand, there are reforms to pension systems that take better account of
interruptions in women's working lives due to child-rearing, etc. Improvements
in the work-life balance as well as measures for reducing the gender pay gap
are also needed. More socially insured employment for women would also better
combat the problem of impending old-age poverty. Increasing the employment rate
of women with more socially insured employment would also result in an overall
reduction in the burden on Member States' social systems.