New research highlights that women’s careers were adversely affected by the pandemic – seeing a significant fall in hiring and a disproportionate amount of job losses. 

Data by LinkedIn, the professional networking site, has revealed that jobs held by women have been more vulnerable and prone to economic shocks and business disruption in comparison to men’s jobs.

The hiring rate for women fell sharply during the course of the pandemic. Between January 2019 to January 2021, the share of women being hired in the UK fell sharply in March and April 2020, before recovering to pre-pandemic levels.

When comparing recent figures to statistics from the start of the pandemic, women made up only 42.4 per cent of hires in April 2020. However, this has since recovered to 45.8 per cent in January 2021.

Despite this, LinkedIn has warned that the recovery in hiring rates may not be enough to offset the disproportionate job losses that women have faced during the pandemic.

Figures provided by HM Treasury also show that more women have been furloughed in the UK (2.32 million) compared to men (2.18 million).

When analysing why women’s careers have been more impacted than men during the pandemic, this was attributed to a variety of factors.

Women were found to take on a larger share of caring responsibilities which has been continually disrupted by school closures and re-openings.

When questioned about this in a survey conducted by LinkedIn and The Female Lead, almost half (41 per cent) of women stated that they had considered leaving the workforce , either permanently or temporarily, with stress (57 per cent), too much responsibility at home and work (33 per cent), and lack of childcare (14 per cent) being the key reasons cited.

In addition, women’s jobs were more likely to be part of sectors which have been hit badly by COVID-19 including travel, retail and leisure. This also explains why women are more likely to be placed on furlough in comparison to their male counterparts.

The research further suggested that women may also be less likely to be able to work from home due to their careers involving more in-person contact, putting them at a significant disadvantage now that the future of work has shifted.

To support female careers, the following suggestions were made to HR teams:

  • Implementing progressive workplace policies to enable greater flexibility
  • Expanding existing talent pools by working on their employer branding strategy
  • Carefully considering the language of job adverts

Janine Chamberlin, Senior Director at LinkedIn, said:

The vulnerability of women’s jobs combined with the extra domestic responsibilities they are taking on during this time threatens to set back progress made towards workplace gender equality.

Companies can play a major part in ensuring that we get back on track by rethinking how they attract, hire and retain female talent.

Implementing progressive workplace policies to offer greater flexibility to care givers, carefully considering the language of job adverts and employer branding to encourage female applicants, and expanding talent pools to entice a broader spectrum of talent and skills, can make a big difference when it comes to hiring more women into the workplace.


*This research was obtained from LinkedIn & the shares of hires by gender were calculated as the total number of women who added a new employer to their profile in the same month the new job began divided by the total number of hires for the same month.