Women took a big hit during the coronavirus pandemic. In the UK, nearly 8 million women were furloughed in response to the pandemic, and female-dominated sectors were hardest hit by lockdowns. Women felt the impact at home, too. Women were already the primary caregivers before COVID-19. During the pandemic, women spent 7.7 more hours on unpaid childcare every week than men.
Experts estimate this so-called “she-cession” will take women’s workplace progress back to 2017 levels. The damage won’t be undone until 2030 at the earliest — and that’s if we move quickly. Knowing there’s no time to waste, how can women start recovering from the she-cession? While things may not be back to “normal” quite yet, there’s a lot you can do to jumpstart your career now.
5 Tips for Your Post-Pandemic Career Rebound
How can women bounce back quickly after the pandemic? Use these tips to ensure COVID-19’s impact on your career is short-lived.
Use the time away from work wisely.
If you left the workforce during the pandemic or are a stay-at-home parent, take time to prepare before re-entering the workforce. Network virtually, refresh your resume, and update your social profiles. If you’ve spent a significant amount of time away from work, be prepared to discuss why.
Upskill for new opportunities.
This is also the time to bolster your resume with online classes, certificate programs, and professional development courses. Before investing in continued education, reflect on your career path and consider where you want to go next.
Find reliable childcare.
Women have enjoyed the flexibility of working from home during the pandemic, with one exception: juggling childcare and work simultaneously. Thankfully, parents can enroll in childcare settings once again in the UK. Childcare bubbles and au pairs are safer options if you’re not comfortable with group settings.
Balance the workload at home.
Daytime childcare doesn’t solve the problem of the second shift. Women also need to redistribute the balance of domestic labor at home. This is easier said than done, but it won’t happen at all without an honest conversation about tasks, expectations, and the equal value of everyone’s time.
Identify flexible employers.
The pandemic triggered a push toward flexible and remote work, and nearly three in four companies plan to maintain or increase the amount of remote work going forward. When job searching, look for employers that have embraced this newfound flexibility.
Flexible Jobs for Women Returning to Work
Speaking of flexible work: Women overwhelmingly want to keep working from home, at least part-time. That’s unsurprising, considering nearly one in three women who left work after children did so due to a lack of workplace flexibility. Applying for remote-first companies is one way to make that happen. That’s especially true for women working in tech, finance, insurance, engineering, and manufacturing — the leading industries in remote employment in the UK. But what if you’re having trouble finding a job or need a way to make ends meet before you’re ready to return to work full-time?
Freelancing is a fantastic strategy whether you want occasional projects to keep busy, consistent part-time work, or to experiment with being your own boss. Freelance work is easy to find through online freelance marketplaces. However, most sites charge fees so be sure to understand the fee schedule and set your rates accordingly. Freelancing is especially well-suited to design, marketing, tech, and writing jobs such as:
- Digital marketing.
- Logo design.
- Web design.
Consulting is similar to freelancing in that consultants are self-employed and work on a contract basis. However, while freelancers work on a project-by-project basis, consultants partner with clients long-term. If you left your previous career at a management level, you may be able to continue earning high rates as a professional consultant.
3. Staffing agencies
Women can also find work through staffing agencies. Staffing and recruitment agencies offer a variety of placements, including temporary and contract assignments. Remote jobs are also increasingly common at staffing agencies with some agencies specializing in remote placements.
4. Starting a business
Some small businesses can be incredibly time-consuming. However, in the age of online businesses, it’s easier than ever to run your own business part-time. Some of the most popular online businesses include:
- Affiliate marketing.
- Blogging or writing e-books.
- E-commerce and dropshipping.
- Teaching or tutoring online.
- Virtual assistant services.
It’s easier to make a profit in some online businesses than others. No matter what kind of business you start, marketing will be key to its success. Perform market research to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience using tried-and-true digital marketing tactics like social media, content marketing, and email campaigns.
5. Gig work
Can’t commit to a regular schedule? The gig economy offers the ultimate in flexible work, with on-demand options that let you work when and as much as you want. However, not all gigs are created equal. For the best pay, consider starting a vacation rental, offering moving help or handy skills, tutoring, or renting out your car. Rideshare drivers can also earn a good wage in the gig economy. However, maximizing rideshare income requires prioritizing the most profitable times and areas that may not be possible for parents.
How to Recognize Work-from-Home Scams
There’s one more thing women need to know about finding flexible work online: how to avoid scams. Work-from-home scams are plentiful nowadays. Luckily, they’re also easy to spot if you know what to look for. These are the sure signs of a work-from-home scam:
- Unsolicited job offers.
- Pay that seems too good to be true.
- No online presence.
- Requests to pay money upfront.
- Requests for personal information through unsecured channels.
- High-pressure tactics.
Women’s careers have taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic, but that’s no reason to stay down. While you might not be able to find your flexible dream job right away, there’s a lot you can do to get cash flowing back into your bank account and your career back on track. Use these tips to jumpstart your career rebound and turn the she-cession into a she-surgence.
Abdulwasiu is passionate about books and he guest posts on Temi.co.uk. He has contributed content on technology, digital marketing, social media advertising and self-development. He is active in a number of tech forums. His natural inclination is to help make simple what is otherwise complex. You can connect with him on Twitter.