Emerging From the Pandemic, 54% of Working Women Spend up to Five Hours Per Day Searching for a New Job

Women who are ready for a change identify continued education as key to helping them return to work and advance in their careers

A recent national survey of women commissioned by Strayer University, an institution of higher learning with 72% female students, revealed that women who remained in the workforce during the pandemic are unsatisfied in their current jobs and seeking a change.

Over 2 million women left the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and millions of jobs primarily held by women (in retail, restaurant, travel and hospitality fields) have vanished without certainty they will return. Even as industries reopen, employment opportunities are still sluggish. At April’s rate of job growth, it would take more than 2 years to regain pandemic losses.

Strayer commissioned Atomik Research, an independent market research firm, to conduct the survey of more than 2,000 women to better understand how to support their reentrance and advancement in the workforce.

Among the women who remained in the workforce, the survey found that 54% spend up to five hours per day browsing the internet for a new job – with Black and Hispanic women conducting job searches at an even higher rate of 64% and 66% respectively.

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“The fact that the majority of working women are taking hours out of their already busy schedules to search for new opportunities indicates they are likely unsatisfied with their current working arrangements,” said Andrea Backman, President, Strayer University. “That dissatisfaction comes as no surprise. Women have had to make tough decisions throughout the pandemic ­— balancing work and childcare or juggling virtual meetings with virtual schooling. As a result, they’re now looking for better flexibility and support in the workforce.”

Survey results support that working women are overwhelmed and ready for a change. Many of these challenges and uncertainties are felt by a greater percentage among women of color as the pandemic has laid bare systemic inequities in our professional culture and larger society. In fact, 43% of working women feel they are settling for their current job, including 49% of Black women and 50% of Hispanic women.

More than 1/3 (37%) of working women feel that the COVID-19 pandemic has put them behind on their career trajectory and 45% of all working moms believe they were passed up for a promotion, bonus or other compensation because of the perceived work/life balance of kids being home during the pandemic.

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Nearly two-thirds of women who faced employment changes in the pandemic believe continuous education is necessary to advance their career and 45% agreed that if the opportunity presented itself, they would go back to college to start or finish their degree to move forward in the workforce.

“Women are looking for the chance to reinvest in themselves and it’s critical that employers and higher education support them in that effort,” said Backman. “Employers can commit to hiring and training women, providing employee tuition assistance programs, and offering the flexibility to work while earning a degree. And higher education providers should provide the flexibility and support women need to continue their education.”

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