Women are much more likely than men to be concerned about their future job prospects following the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey of 2,000 UK workers by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has found.
PwC’s study found that just 29% of female workers feel positively about how the future world of work is likely to affect them, compared with 45% of men.
The findings also show that 41% “feel nervous” about what the future holds for them, compared with 29% of men, which reflects previous research suggesting that women are more likely to have been furloughed during the pandemic.
Moreover, the latest survey found that 27% of respondents from ethnic minority backgrounds believe their job is likely to be made obsolete within five years, compared to 18% of white employees.
Nearly half ethnic minority of workers said they lack access to technology, which in turn limits their opportunity to learn new skills, compared with one-third of white employees who responded in the same way.
Katy Bennett, people and organisation director at PwC, said that it is “no surprise” women feel less positive about the future of work given the impact of COVID-19 on their jobs.
“However, it is important that organisations think carefully about how the introduction of new technology and ways of working will impact their female employees,” she continued.
“It is also concerning to see the larger proportion of workers from ethnic minority backgrounds who believe their jobs may not exist in the next five years.
“Employers need to act now to ensure that ethnic minorities are not disproportionately impacted by changes to jobs and that opportunities to reskill are identified and highlighted to these groups.”
PwC's research also involved a survey of 32,500 people globally, finding that 48% of workers believe that traditional employment will not be around in the future, compared to 36% in the UK.
Paradoxically, just 37% of British workers feel positively about how the future world of work will affect them, in contrast to 50% globally.
More than one-third of UK workers said they lack access to technology, and nearly half believe they will not earn enough money to pay for further education or retraining, rising to 50% among 18-34 year-olds.
“Many of the jobs that have been lost to the pandemic have been in industries most prone to automation, meaning these jobs are unlikely to return,” warned Fiona Camenzuli, people and organisation leader at PwC.
“Upskilling should reduce social inequality, but unless there is proper access to training, it could end up doing the opposite.”
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings