July 2021

Workplace flexibility attracts more women to the labour workforce

The pandemic forced many businesses to accelerate their uptake of digital technology and to embrace working from home. A shift that has provided the flexibility required for some women to better juggle work and family life. As a result, we are now seeing more women move into the labour workforce. 

Some experts suggest the shift may have a lasting impact on the economy, but others suggest it may be too early to tell whether the rise in female participation has been caused by a drop in immigrant workers as a result of the pandemic. 

Post-pandemic, there may be less incentive for employers to provide the same level of flexibility to employees however, we can’t let the positive benefits seen to date stall in momentum. The shift has shown us that greater flexibility can provide a win-win situation for families and the economy. 

Experts suggest there are further opportunities to remove barriers to women re-entering the workforce. They suggest more businesses should embrace programs that help women return to the workforce after a career break by providing the flexibility and encouragement they need to take that step.

They also note that not all women can work from home, particularly those providing frontline services. The quality of jobs and working hours also need to improve to ensure female participation rates improve across a broader range of industries.

The pandemic has shown us that change is possible, but there is certainly still room for improvement if we are going to see the workforce balance shift long term.

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