Working women feel more pressure during pandemic amid increasing household responsibilities and workload

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The pressure on full time working women has significantly increased since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, as they face more household responsibilities (65%) and higher overall workload (33%), according to the Deloitte study ”Understanding the pandemic’s impact on working women”, conducted globally. The number of women who say they are responsible for most of the caregiving duties for children or other family member has nearly tripled during the pandemic, from 17% to 48%. Working mothers reported extra responsibilities related to childcare (58%) and home-schooling (53%).

About 82% of the participants in the study say their daily routine has been disrupted by the pandemic, and 70% of them are concerned about the impact these changes could have on their ability to progress in their careers. Most participants also feel they always need to be available at work (53% of the women without caregiving responsibilities and 44% of those with such tasks).

However, despite the challenges created by the pandemic, women remain optimistic about their potential to progress over the next year, either by taking on more responsibilities as a result of promotions (52%) or by obtaining a pay raise (47%). On the other hand, 60% of respondents question the opportunity to move up in their organization when considering the effort it takes. In this context, 41% mentioned the risk of deteriorating their work/life balance, and 30% cited non-inclusive behaviors, such as micro-aggressions and exclusion from meetings or projects. In this context, the study underlines the need for employers to ensure that diversity, respect and inclusion are non-negotiable values in the culture of everyday work.

“Considering the study’s findings, but also the uncertainties regarding the future evolution of the pandemic, organizations have to take actions to concretely support women who are facing additional responsibilities caused by the pandemic. The research also aimed at identifying such measures to help women progress in their career without negative consequences on their personal life. These include providing flexible working options, more mentoring opportunities and creating learning experiences that fit within employees’ daily new routine. We can also identify this approach in the Romanian business environment, as employers are looking for solutions to address the difficulties women have been facing recently,” said Raluca Bontas, Global Employer Services Partner, Deloitte Romania.

Amid the pandemic, many women remain loyal to their current employers, a third (32%) planning to stay with them for two to five years, and 30% for more than five years. Asked what would be the actions their employer could take to convince them to stay, 55% mentioned a promotion or a pay raise, 48%, more flexible working options, 47%, ensuring  adequate resources for the team, 45%, better benefits, 40%, additional learning opportunities and being engaged in interesting projects. There are also notable differences between women with caregiving responsibilities and those without. The latter prefer career related opportunities, learning and professional development (49%, vs 33% of those with caregiving responsibilities), while working mothers are more interested in better benefits such as medical or parental leave (49% vs. 33%).

Deloitte study “Understanding the pandemic’s impact on working women” is based on a survey conducted on nearly 400 working women across nine countries and reveals the pandemic’s impact on their work/life balance and the risks on the progress reached in recent years in achieving gender equality across the workforce. All respondents are employed full time in companies in various fields, with at least 1,000 employees, and hold a range of positions from executive assistant to vice president. Most of them are married and have at least one child.

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