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Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, released new public opinion research showing that women worldwide are taking significant steps to shift their careers and improve their job prospects as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the global economy.
The Pearson Global Learner Survey, a poll of 6,000 women in six countries, found that 68% of employed women worldwide say the COVID-19 pandemic has made them rethink their career paths, with 48% of all women planning to change jobs or start working in the next six months. A massive 90% of women say they will make at least one move in the next 12 months to boost their job prospects or change careers, doing things like searching for new opportunities, updating their resumes, or submitting job applications.
“Women are taking control of their own fate, making deliberate moves to be successful–even while continuing to face both traditional and COVID-era hurdles,” said Vicki Greene, president, GED Testing Service, part of Pearson Workforce Division. “Despite mental health challenges, gender bias, and a pandemic, women are bravely forging ahead to seek out the opportunities they want and deserve.”
Women are betting on themselves for successful futures.
- Twenty percent of women across the globe report that they plan to start their own business in the next year.
- A whopping 88% of women job seekers say they want to improve their professional skills. Communication skills top that list with 19% looking to improve in that area. Another 18% of women are seeking to improve leadership skills and 17% want to improve time management skills.
While women are optimistic, they are fighting more barriers than just the pandemic.
- Seventy-four percent globally believe bias and discrimination are still holding women back from finding work.
- Sixty-five percent of women worry that age discrimination is a barrier to finding a new job, while 53% are concerned about gender discrimination and 40% worry about racial discrimination.
- In addition, 77% of women have concerns about finding a job that pays them enough to support their families financially, while 56% are concerned about finding a job that will allow them to fulfill family care duties.
- Notably, large numbers of women in the U.S. (75%), U.K. (80%), Brazil (94%), and India (80%) believe the financial effects of the pandemic have placed many women in situations of domestic violence, yet another barrier to safety and independence.
Women also want more employer support to cope with life’s stressors.
- With the strain of the pandemic, 38% of women globally cited lack of financial stability as their biggest current stressor, followed by avoiding COVID at work (33%) and maintaining their mental health (31%).
- They are asking employers to help. Thirty-two percent of women cited a competitive salary as their most important employer provided benefit, followed by flexible schedules (25%), mental health services (18%), professional or technical skill development (18%) and remote work options (15%).
- Notably, Gen Z women are less concerned than other generations about a competitive salary, with only 22% citing that as their most important benefit. Instead, just as many want flexible schedules (21%) and mental health resources (22%). More than any other age group, they also want employers to offer training to prevent sexual harassment (15%) and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion (16%).
This poll was conducted by Morning Consult from August 17 to September 5, 2021, among a total sample of 6,000 women over the age of 18 in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, India, Mexico, and China who are currently employed or actively looking for work. The interviews were conducted online. Results are representative of the online population with a margin of error of plus and minus three percentage points.
Now in its third year, Pearson Global Learner Survey is the leading poll of learners on education issues in the world, offering a deeper understanding of trends in education and providing key data to help further discussions on many important issues.
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