Survey presents worrying picture of impact of Covid on women

A new survey by Deloitte shows how Covid has led to a big decline in women’s wellbeing, work-life balance and career outlook, with a quarter saying they are considering leaving the workforce.

stressed women


The number of women rating their work-life balance as good or extremely good has plummeted due to Covid and a quarter of women are considering leaving the workforce as a result of the pandemic, according to a survey by Deloitte.

It shows that 71% of women in the UK rated their work-life balance as good or extremely good pre-Covid-19, while today that figure is only 31%. Twenty four per cent are considering leaving the workforce altogether, with increased workload and caregiving responsibilities being the top reasons and UK women being significantly more likely to cite increased caregiving as the reason than women in other countries  [31% compared to 23% globally]. Just 4% said they expect to remain at their organisation for more than five years.

The survey also shows that only four in 10 women in the UK said their employer has provided sufficient support to women since the onset of the pandemic. Moreover, 44% of women said their career isn’t progressing as fast as they would like, while 59% feel less optimistic about their career prospects today compared to before the pandemic.

The report, ‘Women @ Work: A global outlook’,  is a global survey of 5,000 women in 10 countries, including 500 working women in the UK and shows increased workloads and household responsibilities during the pandemic are driving deep dissatisfaction among working women across the world.

The research also looked at women’s mental wellbeing. Pre-pandemic, 68% of UK women said their mental wellbeing was ‘good’ or ‘extremely good’, while today only 27% of women said this. In addition, nearly half (48%) of women reported they feel burned out.

Only 20% of women said their employer has provided additional financial support during the pandemic to help alleviate the mental health impacts to women. Similarly, only 19% of women have had their objectives reset to match the context of the pandemic.

One of the issues highlighted by the survey is the relative lack of sharing of care in the UK. Two in five (40%) women said that they are the chief child carer, compared to just 28% globally. Also, a quarter (24%) of UK women said that they have the greatest responsibility for caring for dependents other than children.

Moreover, three quarters of UK women said that housework is their responsibility, compared to 66% globally. Nearly a third (30%) said they live with a partner who does not want to share the load with any household management.

Women in the UK who said that their careers are not progressing as fast as they would like at the moment were more likely (42%) than their global counterparts (34%) to note that caregiving and household responsibilities are making it difficult for them to progress in their careers.

Half (50%) of respondents said the relationship with their employer has suffered due to a change in working hours as a result of an increase in caring responsibilities. Approximately a quarter (26%) said they are now given less responsibility in their role and 23% feel they are less likely to be considered for a promotion.

However, there is some good news. The survey shows women whose employers have been more supportive are more engaged, productive and satisfied with their careers.

Jackie Henry, managing partner, People and Purpose at Deloitte UK, said: “The last year has been a ‘perfect storm’ for many women facing increased workloads and greater responsibilities at home and a blurring of the boundaries between the two. Women’s job satisfaction and motivation at work have been severely impacted since the start of the pandemic, with only 32% telling us they currently feel satisfied and motivated at work, compared to 70% before Covid-19.”

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