Pandemic has negatively impacted career progression of women globally: survey

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The COVID-19 has created drastic changes in different aspects of women’s life including their career progression, about 82 percent of women were negatively affected by the pandemic as their workloads increased in these months, a recent survey shows.

As per a recent study by Deloitte to understand how pandemic has impacted the working pattern of women, it was learned that about seven in 10 women have experienced negative changes to their routine amid the COVID-19. They believe that it will cause a hurdle in their career progression and fades away the achievements made in workplace gender equality over the years.

Balancing career and household duties

The survey which included nearly 400 participants around the globe, showed that the number of women who shouldered 75 percent or more of caregiving responsibilities almost tripled to 48 percent, from 17 percent during the pre-pandemic period.

About 40 percent of the respondents said that the pandemic driven changes in their lives have affected their physical and mental well-being and they find it highly difficult to balance between work and personal commitments.

Out of the surveyed women 65 percent who experienced shifts in their daily routine due to the COVID-19 states that they now have more responsibility for household duty.

Rana Salhab, people and purpose partner at Deloitte Middle East, opines that “women are being impacted in profound ways, facing tremendous challenges and commonly taking on expanded duties at home while continuing to juggle their careers.”

The 53 percent of women with children in the survey, who take the childcare duties say that home-schooling or education responsibilities fell on their shoulders making it even tougher for them to find a balance in their life.

The pandemic has had a “disproportionate” effect on women’s employment and could derail the gains achieved so far in empowering them, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned earlier this year.

The American management consulting firm McKinsey earlier reported that women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable during the pandemic crisis than men’s jobs globally. Even though females make up 39 percent of global employment, they are likely to account for about 54 percent of overall job losses amid the COVID-19.

Nearly 23 percent of respondents stated that they feel a need to always be available for work in fear they will end up having to choose between their household duties and career and 10 percent considers taking a career break or leaving the workforce entirely.

These challenges demotivate women, making about 60 percent rethink if they want to move forward with their careers considering the efforts needed to meet the extra workloads, the survey found.


The Deloitte survey recommended six key steps to support the women workforce during the crisis period which includes, making flexible working arrangements, emphasizing trust and empathy, offering networking and mentoring opportunities, implementing learning experiences, addressing unconscious bias in succession and promotion planning and bringing diversity, respect and inclusion.

“This next year will prove critical in our efforts to achieve gender diversity in the workplace. Businesses must prioritize flexibility, equity and inclusion to support women in achieving their career ambitions,” says Michele Parmelee, Deloitte Global Deputy CEO and Chief People and Purpose Officer.