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Coronavirus has affected female hiring and job confidence

?The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the professional lives of women in the UK, according to new data from LinkedIn.

The research found that women were less likely to be hired during peak lockdown, with female hiring reaching its lowest point in April falling to 41.5%, before recovering to 45.2% in July. In 2019, women accounted for 45.6% of hires in the UK.

In the high-impacted recreation and travel industry, women accounted for 44.3% of the hires in 2019, but this fell as low as 31.1% in May 2020.

Fortunately, the hiring of women now returned to levels seen before the pandemic, LinkedIn found, but it said women started from a lower baseline and still need to make up for the loss of hires in April and May.

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Findings of LinkedIn’s latest Workforce Confidence Index also showed that women are feeling significantly less confident about their future work prospects in comparison to men, and that working mums are bearing the brunt of additional childcare responsibilities.

LinkedIn director Janine Chamberlin told HR magazine: “COVID-19 has been a catalyst for change and is giving employers the opportunity to rebuild fairer and more inclusive businesses.

“A focus has to be on creating greater flexibility for working parents and those with dependents. LinkedIn data finds that women in particular have faced greater hardships during the global pandemic when it comes to employment opportunities and career progression compared to men. They’ve also taken on the bulk of childcare and household responsibilities.”

The study found that 27% of working mums said they were caring for their children by themselves and 32% said they were providing full-time childcare, compared to 19% of men. Working dads were found to be more likely to alternate childcare duties within their household, with 61% of men doing this compared to 34% of women.

Women were also 10% less confident in their ability to get or hold onto a job than men, 67% less confident in their ability to progress their career, and 133% less confident about their ability to improve their financial situation in the next six months.

“This juggling act is taking its toll and businesses cannot afford to see women reduce their working hours or step out of the workforce altogether. Flexible and remote working policies have the potential to really make a difference and prevent women from having to choose between their children and their career,” added Chamberlin.

LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index data is based on 1,058 responses from professionals in the UK between 10 to 23 August 2020.