The Gender Divide
Both men and women have been equally impacted by the pandemic in the EU, The OECD employment outlook found. Contrary to popular belief, the agency found that job losses for both genders were somewhat equal.
Women were more concentrated in food service, retail, and accommodation sectors, all impacted by strict lockdowns. However, they were also equally as likely to work in education, public administration, and health, sectors protected from job loss.
Men, on the other hand, were also likely to work in industries impacted by heavy job loss, like construction or agriculture. Those sectors adapted, and workers were allowed to return to work by the end of 2020.
Understanding the Employment Trends
As the world shifts to a post-pandemic future, it’s crucial to understand how companies plan to bring back employees. According to the OECD, businesses are more likely to bring back short-term workers before they create new jobs at scale.
There are 14 million more people that are classified as inactive today compared to 2019, which means that they are not working but also not looking to work. In fact, by the end of 2020, more than 60% of those people had been unemployed for over six months. Long term unemployment represents a major risk for the recovery, the report warns.
“A widening gap may develop between those who have weathered the crisis through reduced hours and short periods on temporary lay-off, and those who have found themselves jobless – increasing distance from the labour force, exhausting benefit entitlements and risking long-term scars,” the OCED report said.
Many of the jobs hit hardest by the pandemic were already at risk of loss, the OECD said. With automation on the rise, these positions could disappear entirely as new digital technologies grow in popularity.
On the other hand, jobs in healthcare and green energy are on the rise for many developed countries. Transitioning towards a truly sustainable economy is one of the defining missions of our time as well as future generations. Above all, climate change is increasingly recognized as a threat multiplier, amplifying other factors such as inequality, poverty, rising unemployment and migration pressures. At the Adecco Group, we are convinced that moving toward a greener economy will require a range of new skills, investments and technologies to transform challenges into real growth opportunities and make the future work for everyone.
But how do we best mitigate its expectedly negative impacts on labour markets and turn them into opportunities for the future? The answer rests in skills ,reskilling, and career guidance.
During the launch event of the report, OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann emphasised that businesses and the private sector in general are the driver for job creation and growth. The focus should then be on restoring business’ confidence and incentivise their investment in the future. As a provider of Private Employment Services, The Adecco Group is committed to supporting jobseekers and calls for a strong collaboration with Public Employment Services.
The impact of the pandemic on the labour market is only starting to unfold now. Importantly, the OECD Employment Outlook recognizes the Private Sector as a driver of the recovery, underlining that for employment levels to recover, business confidence is determinant.
The Employment Outlook identifies two significant and concurring labour market challenges: labour market participation is dropping while digitalisation and economic reform require new skillsets. Both were already present before Covid-19 hit, but their impact is felt even stronger. The Outlook thus underlines a strong sense of urgency for labour market support. It highlights the importance of labour market (activation & transition) support, career guidance and lifelong learning.
The Adecco Group is at the heart of the solutions required and will reinforce its work hand in hand with partners around the world, starting with the Public Employment Services.