Finding it Harder to Rejoin Workforce after Pandemic Blow, Indian Women Look to Scale Up Skills


A record-high variety of girls have left the workforce both by will or had been handed pink slips as a result of financial droop brought on by the Covid-19 disaster. Now, these girls are discovering it tougher than males to return to work. Women’s jobs are 1.8 instances extra susceptible to this disaster than males’s jobs, in accordance with a report by McKinsey.

More girls had been laid off through the pandemic-led financial droop as in comparison with males. Internationally, the worldwide labour drive participation charge for ladies is near 49%. For males, it’s 75%, in accordance with International Labour Organisation (ILO). Globally, the whole employment loss for ladies stands at 5% in 2020, versus 3.9% for males.

Many girls are staying again dwelling attributable to elevated demand for unpaid care together with assist to youngsters and spouses learning and dealing from dwelling. Women who’re making an attempt to return to jobs have taken the upskilling route. There is a rise within the variety of Indian girls upskilling themselves utilizing on-line studying platforms with an purpose to get again to work.

“If no motion is taken to deal with this gender hole, international GDP development may very well be $1 trillion decrease in 2030 than it might be if girls’s unemployment merely tracked that of males,” said Mayank Kumar, co-founder and MD, upGrad. He added that women are “disproportionately impacted” by the pandemic. “The revenue of an estimated 740 million girls fell to 60% within the first month of the Covid-19 pandemic, in accordance with a report by UN Women. With such rampant fall in employment ranges, girls professionals have needed to rethink the thought of upskilling to bounce again into the system,” said Kumar.

For Deval Singh, Business Head (Telecom, Media, Technology & Government), TeamLease Services, more alarming is that women who lost their jobs have not returned to work yet. “The pandemic has impacted women more physically, emotionally and financially. As per the World Bank data, the women’s labour force participation rate for India right now stands at 20.5%, falling behind most countries. Indian women spend six times more the amount of time as spent by men in daily household duties and responsibilities. Covid amplified those pressures and thus widened the gap.”

“The obstacles which might be hindering the progress of girls within the office embody time spent on home duties: 26% of girls spend wherever between 4 to six hours doing home chores, which might have an effect on their work productiveness. The different elements had been social stigma towards girls in employment and gender stereotyping attitudes of some employers,” informed Singh.

Among women who opt to join the workforce, factors such as marital status and location of jobs play a bigger role as compared to men. “More than 50% of the unmarried women learners were ready to relocate not just within their home state, but in other states too to build a stable career even during the pandemic. Male learners were more open to relocating irrespective of their marital status to build a stable career,” mentioned Divya, co-founder, Safejobs.

Now, an exponentially excessive variety of girls are taking the oblique route of on-line programs to get again into the workforce. A sudden spike in girls taking on-line upskilling programs in India isn’t any coincidence, as per specialists.

UpGrad has reported a 90% elevated intent amongst girls learners in 2021 (Jan-Feb-March) as in comparison with the identical interval in 2020. In India, girls make 27% of whole learners as in comparison with 23% globally.

Coursera—the biggest studying platform in India—has reported that India is second amongst girls’s illustration within the on-line platform, globally. Coursera’s Global Skills Report 2021 notes that participation of girls learners has gone up from 38% in 2018-19 to 45% in 2020. India has proven one of many highest jumps. Of the whole learners from India, earlier than the pandemic, 25% had been girls. Now, the quantity is up at over 35%. Most enrolments are in STEM-related programs with 33% of learners from India in STEM programs on the platform being girls.

“While girls’s participation within the labour drive is low, within the long-term, we may even see this rise because the entry to equal on-line training results in equal employment alternative,” said Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, India and APAC, Coursera.

Most of these enrolments are from women with access to devices and the internet. Women from rural and lower-income backgrounds, however, are yet to get back to work. Suchita Dutta, executive director at Indian Staffing Federation, said that women are taking flexible job options including working from home. However, the facility is encashed by women from urban backgrounds. Flexi staffing witnessed a jump of 6% for urban women in 2020. In contrast, there is a dip in women’s participation specifically in rural areas. Sectors that were major employment drivers for women from rural areas were real estate, construction, farm, factory and domestic work, etc, have seen a major decline due to the pandemic, she said.

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