How to Bring Women Back to the Post-Pandemic Workforce

Diana Doro
Diana Doro
How to Bring Women Back to the Post-Pandemic Workforce

In the wake of COVID-19, nearly 3 million women in the U.S. have either been laid off, furloughed or have dropped out of the workforce. This has made dramatic impacts, causing women’s participation in the labor force to be at a 33-year low. There are multiple reasons for these staggering numbers but in many cases, working mothers felt the need to drop out of the workforce due to feeling forced between their jobs and caring for their children because of the lack of full-time childcare available. 

The working mother’s paradox was one that came quickly under harsh scrutiny during the pandemic. Even in today's society, it became clear that the expectation to take time off of work to support the family fell on the mother in most cases, especially considering that men's participation in the workforce has not dropped in the way that it has for women. I don't think anyone is doubting that supporting their family during this upheaval was one of the most important things this past year but the reality is that this has resulted in women leaving the labor force four times more than men according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And not only that, but data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey found that 10 percent of working mothers reported not working every week because they were taking care of a child who wasn't in school or daycare between April 23, 2020, and August 31, 2020. But it's starting to look up - every week I see new posts on social media by my friends and colleagues, saying that they are sending their children back to in-person school and are ready to get back to their work lives.

The Great Rehire

Enter “The Great Rehire”, a rise in the economic outlook that will mean millions of the talent impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be re-entering the workforce at a staggering rate, and companies need to be poised to make the most of this boom market. 

But how can organizations be marketable to this talent and not miss the wave? Let’s talk about that.

Consider Your Diversity Initiatives 

With so many women looking to return to the workforce, companies really need to think about their diversity hiring initiatives and diversity-related recruitment strategies. Consider posting jobs on diversity-specific sites, as well as leveraging cross-postings to the diversity and affiliate partner networks of job boards and aggregator partners. There are also plenty of technology tools to utilize and incorporate into your diversity initiatives. 

Find Your Ideal Your Talent Solution

Clients at DZConneX are already taking a forward-thinking approach to Total Talent Management by having an MSP in place that has a diversity and inclusion plan. If you don't currently have an MSP, now is the time to consider one. MSP's have evolved while the economy was in this past downturn, preparing for this inevitable surge in rehiring, and has transformed into a solution that can scale quickly, be flexible, attract private pools of talent and leverage a large network of sourcing suppliers to fill the pipeline with talent to increase quality and fill rates.

Consider a solution that can easily bolt-on to what you’re doing – a quick adaptation of your strategic sourcing initiatives to include ways to attract this rehire talent. Maybe a Direct Sourcing partner is right for you or perhaps you just need a right-sizing of your supplier base. This could help you include partners that specialize in aligning your hiring needs to this changing marketplace such as freelance platforms or adding a VMS that includes integrations to non-traditional sourcing venues and more. 

Increase Work Life Flexibility

Even as life starts to return to "normal", women are still going to be balancing aspects of their home life as they return to the workforce. Employers can help support women in many ways. First, they can consider taking measures to make sure that women who had to leave the workforce are offered roles that will help them make up for any time that was lost due to unemployment because of the pandemic. Also, employers should consider whether they are able to continue with having a flexible work schedule for their employees, whether it's with flexible working hours, specific work from home days or fully remote work. 

Consider a Consultative Approach

If you’re not sure where to start, consider a consultative approach and outsource the strategy to a company that has expertise helping large organizations navigate the changing world of work.

The competition for talent in the upcoming economic recovery will be fierce – companies cannot afford to be left behind. Being unprepared for 2021 and beyond will likely mean uncontrolled costs, longer turnaround times for talent, and an overall “behind the curve” result in your talent acquisition strategy.

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