Dubai: There were fewer women joining the UAE workforce during April at the height of the lockdown phase to counter the COVID-19 spread, but have shown signs of recovery since June, according to LinkedIn, the networking platform.

Hiring of women dropped to 31.3 per cent, but then recovered above the full-year 2019 average by July. The share of monthly hires of women in the UAE saw it reach 35 per cent in July and exceeding the 2019 average of 33.5 per cent.

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In fact, this pattern of an April drop-off is repeated across the world, with lockdowns having had a more severe impact on women being hired, says the digital platform. (According to LinkedIn, the share of hires by gender are calculated as the total number of women who added a new employer to their profile in the same month the new job began divided by the total number of hires for the same month.)

It has been set off by the forced need to work-from-home, and which added to the burden on women, especially working mothers. In a statement, Karin Kimbrough, Chief Economist at LinkedIn, said: “In terms of gender, women are bearing the brunt of the global pandemic when it comes to employment opportunities and career progression.

“We’ve seen  that working mothers are struggling to balance ever-demanding workloads with increased childcare and household responsibilities and the concern is that many are considering reducing their working hours or retreating from the workforce as a result.”

Globally, female hiring touched a low in April, at 40.6 per cent hires, before recovering in June and July to around 44.5 per cent. “Female hires have now returned to levels seen before the pandemic,” the portal said in a statement. “However, women started from a lower baseline in most countries, and need to make up for the loss of hires in March/April.”

Need for schools

“Our ability to avoid more widespread, permanent losses in women’s employment hinges on schools reopening and employers creating more flexible work schedules,” said Kimbrough. “Without this, we’ll have a very real and serious risk of losing many women from the workforce.

“The unfortunate reality is that the longer that this goes on, the more women will have to make the impossible choice between caring for their children and their careers. And we know these losses won’t come back easily: women will have to work harder to re-enter once they’re able.

“As schools reopen, now is the time for businesses to consider flexible hours, remote working and job sharing which can go a long way in supporting women and keeping them in the workforce.”