Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted women and their careers, but new research from AllBright proves they are emerging from the pandemic resilient and motivated. As 1 in 4 women look to set up a business post-pandemic while two thirds plan a career change, we launch Making It Work, a brand-new campaign to help women on their missions to boost their careers.
There’s no doubt about it: the Covid-19 pandemic has thrust our lives into disarray. Widespread furlough, the sudden shift to remote work, and juggling childcare with full-time work has caused chaos for many of us, with studies showing that – surprise – women were disproportionately saddled with home-schooling and household responsibilities throughout the pandemic. In fact, coronavirus effectively pressed rewind on the steady progress we’ve made towards equality and shunted many of us back into the roles of 1950s housewives, juggling childcare with running a home, all while attempting to clock in for a virtual day in the office.
"In just a few short months, the pandemic has undone decades of progress, and it’s going to be even more of an uphill battle to level out the playing field"
“At this critical point in time it’s important that Covid doesn’t undo years of work towards gender equality,” says AllBright co-founder Debbie Wosskow. “The impact of the lack of childcare has been felt up and down the country, with women being forced back into the roles of traditional 1950s housewives – many with the added pressure of juggling a full-time job alongside their domestic duties. In just a few short months, the pandemic has undone decades of progress, and it’s going to be even more of an uphill battle to level out the playing field." With the added threat of a recession looming, you’d be forgiven for thinking that women would be feeling pessimistic about what the world of work will look like in a post-pandemic future. Yet there is a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness. New research from AllBright has painted a positive picture of women’s careers after Covid. Our exclusive data shows that women are not emerging from lockdown tired and defeated, but motivated and fighting. They have big plans – three quarters are hoping to start their own business, while 61% are dreaming of a complete career change.
"1 in 4 of the women AllBright surveyed had already put the wheels in motion to launch a new venture"
In spite of a relentlessly murky job market, 1 in 4 of the women surveyed had already put the wheels in motion to launch a new venture. Publishing, health, and fitness proved the most popular sectors that hopeful entrepreneurs plan to expand into, whilst recruitment, beauty, and finance follow not far behind. “The pandemic has generated a great deal of concern about the economy and the job market more generally, and many women have found themselves in difficult situations,” explains AllBright co-founder Anna Jones. “Yet our research shows that women are using the crisis as a catalyst for positive change. We’re seeing a tremendous amount of resilience and optimism amongst our community, and many see the challenges that have been caused by Covid as an opportunity to pivot their careers, look at their working life with a fresh perspective, and perhaps act on a long-held goal that didn’t seem possible in a pre-pandemic world.” AllBright’s data challenges many of the negative perceptions about what the future of work could look like in a post-pandemic world. The London School of Economics argued that women could be most affected by redundancies over the coming months. Already, the real-world economic effects of Covid have hit women the hardest, with the rate of furlough highest amongst female workers, and evidence suggesting that the mental health impact of the pandemic has been most significant amongst women. A study of almost 20,000 women by Pregnant Then Screwed found that 15% of working mums had been made redundant or expected to be, with lack of childcare accounting for almost half (46%) of redundancies.
"2 in 3 women are now planning to invest in upskilling themselves in a bid to better their career options"
AllBright’s research provides renewed optimism that these setbacks won’t last long. The women surveyed have high hopes for a bright future, with over half feeling that the crisis will provide new professional opportunities. An understanding of the need to adjust to a vastly different job market, access training, and make use of connections was also apparent, with 2 in 3 respondents now planning to invest in upskilling themselves in a bid to better their career options. “We’re delighted that women are seeing this current moment as an opportunity to start afresh, improving not only their careers but their own professional skillsets, too,” adds Wosskow. “As we move past the tremendous struggles that women have faced during Covid, it’s fantastic to see that so many of those surveyed are thinking carefully about how best they can build towards a successful future." Throughout the pandemic, AllBright has held over 300 digital events, continued to add courses to the AllBright Academy, and launched AllBright Digital, an online platform aimed at helping women to connect, upskill, and inspire in a socially distanced world. Yet this research has inspired further action. AllBright now has plans to support the vast numbers of women considering making a career change by launching further online training, content, and guidance to help women return to the workplace with the skills that they need to realise their potential. But for Jones, the opportunity to provide these resources has been helped along by the ambition and inspirational stories that AllBright’s members have shared with them.
"The pandemic was devastating for so many women, and hearing that the women we surveyed have big plans for the future, often hoping to work for themselves or build a new skillset, is incredibly encouraging"
“It’s been amazing to see so much positivity in our community about the world of work after Covid,” she says. “The pandemic was devastating for so many women, and hearing that the women we surveyed have big plans for the future, often hoping to work for themselves or build a new skillset, is incredibly encouraging. We’re thrilled to see women emerge stronger from the challenges of the pandemic, and we’re hopeful that our resources can help women make these goals a reality.” In order to boost women’s opportunities to grow and develop their careers, AllBright is today launching the Making It Work campaign. Dedicated to facilitating the insights found from the survey, expect courses, digital and IRL events, EDIT features and much more dedicated to helping women build their resilience, pivot their career, launch their own business, go freelance and generally taking back the reins to Make It Work in this post-pandemic world. Let's make this work.
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We have launched the Digital Sisterhood to provide women everywhere with the community and support they need at the moment. Be that a safe space to ask questions – and receive honest answers – or somewhere to find a digital event that will offer you the information, or perhaps the encouragement, you need to get you through the coming days and weeks. We’re here for you, so please do head to digital.allbrightcollective.com to claim your 14 day free trial and join our community.