Emerging from the Pandemic on Top: Preparing Women for Re-entry into the Workforce

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

By: Jacquelyn Voss, MA

The deleterious effects of Covid-19 have shifted societal roles around the globe, but especially here in the United States. Decades of advancement by women in the workplace are being threatened by the pandemic’s gendered impact.

The most notable cause of this regression among American women in professional fields is the increasing demands of childcare. Lockdown-driven homeschooling and e-learning have led to women reducing their work hours or leaving the workforce altogether. While it is historically common for mothers to bear the brunt of domestic labor, the pandemic has created greater inequality in the distribution of childcare with women’s participation rate in the labor market declining faster than that of men.

Women suffered job losses so disproportionately to men because women disproportionately work at many of the industries most affected by the pandemic, such as service, travel, and retail. Women also occupy most low-paid essential jobs. Many women are facing stress and burnout that can lead to the loss of job responsibilities/obligations.

The idea of men as primary breadwinners has dwindled over the past couple of decades, with professional women making great strides in the workplace and households becoming more equal. It took a global pandemic for societies to revert to traditional gender roles/norms. Responses to the pandemic include “men first” approaches in which plans for job creation are focused on male-dominated industries, and greater male representation in politics has reduced the female voice.

The impacts of this pandemic have generated added pressures for female job seekers and have left many discouraged from re-entering the workforce. Structural factors affect how women approach the job search process. Women deserve the opportunity to continue to thrive and excel in the workplace, and it is critical that the necessary steps are taken toward equal representation and inclusion.

One way to assist female job seekers in workforce re-entry is to help them prepare! The Moving On with Moxxie program was designed to do just that – help women displaced by Covid-19 transition back into the workforce. A post-program evaluation study was conducted on the Moving on with Moxxie program. An ethnically and economically diverse sample of program participants ages 32 to 58 revealed encouraging findings:

  • 100% of the women were comfortable with leveraging virtual and personal connections during a job search.
  • 100% were confident in their interviewing skills and networking capabilities, as well as leveraging their professional skills.
  • 100% of participants reported that they would recommend the program and that it helped them feel better about their job loss.

Confidence is key when it comes to the job search, and the Moving On with Moxxie program greatly improved the confidence of women in various critical components of this process. The knowledge and skills conveyed in this program are very beneficial for women experiencing challenges in their job search.

It is my hope that the Moving On with Moxxie program can pave the way to returning to a more equal and inclusive workforce.

Jacquelyn Voss is a consulting research intern at Talent Metrics and is pursuing a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Keiser University.

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