A new study by the Royal Bank of Canada has found that women are exiting the workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic at a much faster rate than men.
According to Royal Bank, more than 20,000 women left the workforce between February and October of this year while more than 60,000 men joined the workforce.
The pandemic and the demands of raising children are likely the cause of the exodus, which is seeing women between ages 20 and 24, along with those between 35 and 39, abandoning work faster than most other cohorts.
Some of them are returning to school to pick up new careers and skills, while others are leaving to raise children. The study said mothers with children under age six only made up 41% of the labour force in February and yet they account for two-thirds of the exodus. The study also found that women who have lost their jobs during the pandemic are not temporarily laid off and don’t appear to be looking for work like their male counterparts.
Of the 48,000 workers in the retail, accommodations and food services industry who lost their jobs in October, Royal Bank said about 80% were women and they accounted for nearly twice the share of the decline in labour force participation when compared with men.
At the same time, the surge in demand for e-commerce caused the scientific and technical services industry to hire 55,000 workers and three-quarters of those positions were filled by men.