Gender gap at work: the effects of the pandemic


Gender gap at work: the effects of the pandemic

October 21 / 2022

Sometimes, when the wheel of life moves forward driving economic and social improvements for citizens, an unexpected event slows down the pace achieved. The pandemic and the resulting economic crisis are a good example.

Above all, in relation to the gender gap in the professional world. Before the arrival of Covid-19, the number of women in the most varied jobs continued to increase little by little. However, during and after the pandemic, women left their jobs in significantly higher numbers than men.

Pre-existing achievements seem to have temporarily stalled. Those jobs that depend directly on personal contact (social services, care for children and the elderly, home), occupied mainly by female staff, have been heavily affected by the pandemic. 

And in cases where women work remotely from home, they add the additional burden of child care and household chores. The benefit of teleworking doesn’t seem to be so great for them. 

A glass ceiling hard to break

The report Women in Business, by the consultancy Grant Thornton, indicates that only 34% of management positions in Spain are held by women. A fact that places it in the top 10 in the world when it comes to effective equality. 

Although Spanish companies are doing their homework, the symbolic ceiling has not yet been broken. Much remains to be done. Although the application of quotas or the eradication of unconscious biases will undoubtedly help to break it in the near future.

Labour gender gap in the short and medium term

The post-pandemic crisis has mainly affected lower-wage employees. Among them, women in the service sector represent a high percentage. 

On the other hand, not a few professionals have voluntarily stopped their careers during the pandemic. They chose to take care of their children, dedicate time to their pregnancy or avoid possible infections in the office. In these cases, they were generally women employees in highly qualified positions. 

But this situation is unusual. The destruction of women’s employment has been remarkable and many women employees have never found a place in the labour market again. Unfortunately, certain business mentalities still abound today that hinder women’s access to certain jobs.

The fewer studies, the greater the gender gap

Of the nine and a half million people holding management positions in the European Union in mid-2020, only 34% were women. And that is despite the fact that they represent 46% of the people employed in the European Union. However, even in spite of the pandemic, the percentage of women in management positions is increasing every year. 

But where the labour gender gap is most perceived is based on the educational level of women employees. According to a report by the European Commission, almost 86.9% of men and 80.5% of women with high levels of education have jobs. 

Those with basic education see their employment rate significantly reduced. 65.09% for men and 43.4% for women. A difference between the latter of almost 50% compared to those with higher education. 

Strategy for Gender Equality 2020-2025

This strategy of the European Commission sets a series of objectives to achieve full equality:

  • End gender stereotypes
  • Increase the presence of women in positions of power
  • Reduce the labour and wage gender gap 

For the European Parliament, it is essential to achieve these objectives to prevent the impact of the pandemic from leading to a situation of even greater inequality than before. However, it is aware of the difficulty of the task because it lacks concrete tools to carry out its strategy.

Recruiting, Engaging and Retaining Female Talent

In any self-respecting company, the recruitment, engagement and retention of talent are essential for its effective functioning in the present and future. Most companies talk about the importance of promoting gender equality, but those that really take the initiative to achieve it do not reach fifty percent. 

It’s time for them to act once and for all. To do this, they must first identify the patterns that prevent them from making the most of female talent. Once detected, it is time to use that knowledge to carry out systematic changes.

The main areas of talent management are where they should focus to end gender inequality. These areas are:

  • Attraction of candidates
  • Hiring
  • Integration into the company
  • Development
  • Performance evaluation
  • Compensation and promotion management
  • Talent retention

Cloudworks is a company committed to inclusion and eliminating the gender gap.  In our spaces there is no room for inequalities based on gender, race, sexual orientation or disability.Get to know our different coworking spaces in Madrid and Barcelona. You’ll see right away that they are ideal places to work at ease. Our Fix and Flex coworking plans are sure to suit your needs. Join us! 

Un espacio de trabajo inspirador

Looking for an ideal workspace?

Contact us