The increase given by the pandemic to the digital, automation and expertise industries is about to exacerbate gender inequality within the office, as the brand new jobs being created are being taken largely by males.

The pandemic is driving a shift in firms’ use of expertise, each official statistics and enterprise surveys recommend, making the automation and digitalisation industries a number of the few winners from this yr’s financial turbulence.

Practically 800,000 extra jobs have been created in laptop programming and associated companies throughout the EU, the US, the UK, Japan and Australia up to now this yr, in accordance with an FT evaluation of official knowledge. The variety of different tech-related skilled jobs in areas corresponding to info expertise and telecoms was additionally up in some nations, with males over-represented in each sectors.

That is in sharp distinction to the general jobs market — unemployment has risen in most main developed economies in latest months. The worst-hit areas of labor are low-paid jobs in swaths of the companies sector, which are inclined to largely make use of ladies.

Throughout the 34 OECD nations, ladies usually tend to be in short-term jobs and in the entire member nations for which knowledge is on the market, ladies are extra represented in low-paid jobs.

“The pandemic could also be contributing to a widening of the gender hole, together with the digital gender divide and the gender pay hole,” stated Mariagrazia Squicciarini from the OECD’s science expertise directorate.

Line chart of In EU, UK, US, Australia and Japan (millions of workers*) showing Men have extended their dominance in computer programming jobs

Many of the jobs for which demand has accelerated for the reason that pandemic first hit require expertise which fewer ladies have acquired via coaching and schooling, corresponding to these referring to IT, science and engineering, she stated.

Shauna Olney, chief of the Worldwide Labour Group’s gender, equality and variety department, warned that as a rising variety of nations document a contemporary uptick in coronavirus instances, “ladies proceed to bear the brunt of the disaster”.

“For a lot of ladies, Covid-19 threatens their jobs and livelihoods,” she stated. “Immediate and efficient measures are essential to mitigate the chance of decay of working circumstances and profession prospects.”

Tech jobs develop . . . 

EU: Whole jobs fell by 2.9 per cent within the second quarter in comparison with the identical interval final yr. Employment in laptop programming, consultancy and associated companies was up by 18 per cent.

Japan: Jobs in info and communication have been up 9 per cent in September in comparison with the identical month final yr, regardless of a fall in general employment.

US: Jobs in laptop system design and associated actions have been down in October in comparison with the identical month final yr. However the fall was lower than one-third the scale of the drop in general employment.

Australia: Employment within the three months to August fell 3 per cent, however the variety of employees in laptop system design and associated companies rose 11 per cent.

UK: The variety of info expertise and telecommunication professionals rose by a document quantity within the 12 months to June, tremendously outperforming the general job market.

The ILO has called on governments to focus on assist for hard-hit sectors and occupations the place ladies are over-represented, to gather gender-related statistics to tell restoration plans in addition to to design restoration packages that recognise unpaid care work.

Trudy Norris-Gray, who chairs Sensible, a UK marketing campaign for higher variety in science, expertise and medication, stated tech job commercials have been rising because of “the amplification of technological transformation throughout this pandemic [that] will not be solely altering the way in which we work, store, talk, educate but additionally the way in which we’ve our behaviour analysed and are consequently knowledgeable”.

However, she stated, “extra males are filling these new openings than ladies” and to vary this “we’d like all firms to speed up the drive for gender steadiness, particularly in expertise . . . as it’s central to all our lives” in addition to being one of many sectors with “the largest growths in jobs”.

…Whereas jobs in some service sectors shrink

UK: There have been 120,000 fewer gross sales assistant jobs within the yr to June in comparison with the identical interval final yr, the most important fall ever recorded.

Japan: The variety of jobs in lodging, foods and drinks companies fell at an annual price of 10.6 per cent in September, the most important since information started till the pandemic.

EU: Practically 1.5m jobs have been misplaced in retail and lodging within the second quarter in comparison with the identical interval final yr, the most important on document.

US: Employment in lodging and meals companies shrank 18 per cent in October in contrast with the identical month final yr, the most important October annual fall since information started in 1990.

Australia: The variety of jobs in lodging and meals companies fell 15 per cent within the third quarter in comparison with the identical interval final yr, the most important fall on document for that interval.

Bar chart of % of workers (2019) showing Women dominate in accommodation  and food services jobs
Bar chart of % of workers earning less than two-thirds of median earnings (2019 or latest) showing Low pay affects women more than men

Jennifer Howard-Grenville, a professor on the College of Cambridge, stated that tech employees form items and companies as “algorithms aren’t impartial and mirror the unconscious assumptions of their builders”.

Nevertheless Ms Squicciarini famous that occupations associated to caring and scientific and diagnostic assist, wherein ladies make up a major proportion of employees, have additionally seen an increase in demand for employees.

Claudia Hupkau, assistant professor of economics at CUNEF (Madrid) and affiliate on the London Faculty of Economics’ centre for financial efficiency, stated the large hit to female-dominated sectors was mitigated by ladies being “overrepresented in sectors which have been outlined as essential to the Covid-19 response, corresponding to healthcare”.


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