The Impact of Covid-19 on Women in the Workplace (& How to Champion Gender Diversity)

Adam Jasnikowski

Women & Unemployment

​We’ve all been impacted in different ways throughout the pandemic but, naturally, for those of us who work in recruitment, global employment markets have been the hottest topic of conversation. So many jobs have been lost; so many industries hit hard by the effects of Covid, here in Australia and around the world.

Recently however, I was quite frankly shocked to learn some crazy stats about how the pandemic has impacted our local market – particularly with regards to women in employment.

Last year, more women were unemployed in Victoria than ever has been recorded in the history of the state.

Yep, the highest percentage of unemployment for women on record. The number of women claiming unemployment benefits more than doubled between December 2019 and July 2020, which is crazy to think about. In that same month (July of last year), female job loss was at five times the rate of men – and that’s just before Melbourne went back into a second lockdown, which can’t have helped matters.

And it’s not just Victoria – this is a country-wide problem.

Across Australia, the overall rate of women’s unemployment has now improved just 6% since July 2020; overall female unemployment is still 21% higher this January just gone than it was in the same month last year.

We could all speculate as to why women have been so adversely affected in terms of employment during the pandemic, but that’s not strictly “my style”; I prefer to take a more proactive approach. With that in mind, let’s talk instead about ways we can all consciously champion gender diversity across our businesses and hiring processes. It was always a key priority for 2020 and beyond – so now’s the time to take note.

How to promote applications from female job seekers:

1. Consider your wording and tone carefully

Use gender neutral writing (look it up!) and a tone which is positive and uplifting. Realistically, all ads should follow the same notion, but being conscious of doing so is the first step. Take care to make your job adverts read as though written by a human, not a machine, and by doing so hope to see more female applicants coming through. Make every job advert as inclusive as possible, by having multiple team members of both genders check it over before posting.

2. Consider the benefits you’re offering

Is your benefits package going to be attractive to both genders? Think about the issues many households are dealing with in the wake of Covid-19 – childcare, for one – and tailor your benefits package to solve some of the problems being faced. Either that or offer a flexi-package, one which can be built around the needs of your new hire, with options to suit everyone.

3. Promote diversity across your social channels

Although, any business looking for top talent should be doing so already! Share success stories from the women you have on board currently, and show that your workplace is an inclusive one, where everyone is able to thrive. Demonstrate that opportunities are available to both genders and there’s no ceiling based on this, or any other characteristic. More and more often, jobseekers are basing first impressions on your online presence – so make it a god one.

Tons of business have already made increasing the percentage of females on their workforce a priority this year – has yours? Partnering with us to help you get there simply gathers experience in doing so to your side. We’d love to talk more about how to encourage diversity across your hiring process; it’s something we know more than a little about. We’re experts right here in Victoria, and we want to turn those numbers from the beginning of this article around – get in touch.

All stats are taken from the McKell Institute & the Australian Bureau of Statistics.