Women’s labour force participation rate hit lowest level in over 30 years
Women’s labour force participation rate has hit the lowest level in over 30 years across Canada and three entrepreneurs are responding with free support for female job seekers to fix the problem.
A recent Statistics Canada report indicates job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been consistently more severe for women than for men. The report says that from March 2020 to February 2021, women accounted for 53.7 per cent of year-over-year employment losses, and points to the high proportion of women working in small-sized firms in service industries and to the greater employment losses among small firms in the service industries as the principal reasons for the overall gender difference.
Leigh Mitchell of Women in Biz Network and BeeHappyHR, Verity Dimmock, and Sue Christensen of My Career Launch are deeply troubled by these alarming statistics and the negative financial and emotional impact women are facing now and potentially for many years to come. In response they have designed a ‘She-covery Plan’, a rapid assessment tool to help unemployed women significantly speed up their job search and land the right jobs even as women across Canada continue to struggle with job hunting and recovering from the effects of COVID-19 on the job market.
Free Support is here to aid in the ‘She-covery’
The rapid assessment tool is a 7-question strategic conversation to help women job seekers get back to work sooner and in jobs that will provide them with advancement opportunities. After a successful trial run with job seeking friends, family, and female clients, Mitchell, Dimock and Christensen are offering the assessment free of charge to motivated women job seekers who are looking to return to the workforce, or make a leap into a new position.
Women in Biz Network’s Diversity-Driven Career Board features jobs by vetted employers committed to supporting women during these challenging times. They are working closely with job seekers after the 7-question assessment to share job postings from employers committed to reducing obstacles in women’s career paths. Mitchell is thrilled with the results of the assessment and the combined collaborative efforts with Women in Biz Network. “Women who I have referred to receive the assessment are sharing how impactful the tool and feedback report has been to boost their confidence and address common pitfalls they were experiencing in their job search,” she said. We’re happy to provide this free support to other women who are struggling to get back into the workforce. Their success will be our success.”
Diversity in the workplace is critical for success. From the start of the pandemic, a recurring theme in the female population became unemployment; more than 500,000 who lost their jobs were still unemployed in January, 2021. More than 200,000 of these women are now considered long-term unemployed – unemployed for more than six months, and nearly 100,000 women are not looking to return due to extreme barriers they are facing such as increased responsibilities in the household and childcare challenges just to name a few. Setbacks like these prevent women from protecting and continuing to advance gender equality in both household and work settings.
The pandemic had a huge impact on all demographic groups and job sectors, however the smaller firms, hospitality, retail and food sectors were severely affected, and recovered at a much slower rate. Being female-dominated sectors, women – who were already earning less before – disproportionately took the hardest hits during lockdowns and closures.
Additionally, women are exiting the workforce at a much faster rate than men due to childcare purposes, as they are generally accustomed to more responsibilities that are domestic. In some situations, the dual roles of being a mother of a family and an employee caused an overload of pressure, leading them to pick one and leave the workforce.
The 7-question assessment analyzes where women are on their job search journey, and helps them quickly clarify their job search strengths and weaknesses, enabling a more strategic and targeted job search from that point forward. According to Verity Dimock who co-designed the assessment with Sue Christensen, “Job-hunting in Canada can be a full-time job and we know it can be equally frustrating so our aim with this assessment is for women to land interviews and receive offers for jobs they actually want in less time and with less stress.” Both Sue and Verity have seen incredible results. Women, like Halifax data scientist Anwar Alessa, have been able to dramatically reduce the time it had been previously taking to land job offers. “I was able to quickly zero in on what I needed to change to get hired; most importantly, not to undersell myself. Ten days after the assessment, I accepted a data analytics role with a great tech company in Atlantic Canada,” said Alessa.
Flexible Work Crucial to Women’s Success
According to a recent Gartner survey, “64% of managers believe that office workers are higher performers than remote workers, and in turn are likely to give in-office workers a higher raise than those who work from home. However, data from Gartner collected from both 2019 (pre-pandemic) and 2020 (during the pandemic) shows the opposite: Full-time remote workers are 5% more likely to be high performers than those who work full-time from the office.” Providing women with flexible work options is critical to the economy’s rebuild. The founders of the assessment plan on providing valuable suggestions and best practices for HR professionals who are tasked with finding diverse talent for their teams. Flexible work will be crucial to the she-covery.
About Women in Biz Network:
In their 10-year history, the Women in Biz Network community of 35,000 is determined to improve gender equality and diversity results in Canadian businesses and workplaces. Their popular vetted career board, mentorship services, and training for corporate women and business owners have advanced the careers for thousands of women across Canada.
About My Career Launch:
My Career Launch helps women job seekers leap into job search success, with strategy-first techniques and tips. Looking to make a big transition, or even return to the workforce after a break? My Career Launch has a proven 5-step process that makes job search more targeted and less stressful.
About Bee Happy HR Co: Your Diverse Talent Hive: Bee Happy HR is Canada’s leading diverse talent organization focused on talent promotion, recruiting and retaining diverse talent for your workplace. Services include recruitment, HR policy execution, culture development, and creating buzz for campaigns focused on equality in the workplace.
Interested in interviewing us on this project?
Contact Kimesha Walters, CEO
Oasis Integrated Communications