Strayer University recently commissioned a national survey on the current mood of working women. The survey revealed that women in the workforce during the pandemic are unsatisfied in their current jobs. As a result, many women are actively seeking a change.
Over 2 million women left the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of jobs primarily held by women have vanished without certainty that they will return. Most of these jobs were in the retail, restaurant, travel and hospitality industries. 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.
Key survey findings
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.
Fifty-four percent of women in the workforce spend up to five hours per day browsing the internet for a new job. Furthermore, Black and Hispanic women are conducting job searches at an even higher rate. Specifically, 64 percent of Black women and 66 percent of Hispanic women are searching for a new job.
“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.”
Not fulfilling their potential
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. The pandemic has laid bare systemic inequities in our professional culture and larger society. In fact, 43 percent of working women feel they are settling for their current job. Of those women, 49 percent of Black women and 50 percent of Hispanic women feel they are settling.
Thirty-seven percent of working women feel that the COVID-19 pandemic has put them behind on their career trajectory. Forty-five percent of all working moms believe they did not get a promotion, bonus or other compensation because of the perceived work/life balance of kids being home during the pandemic.
Back to school
Nearly two-thirds of women who faced employment changes in the pandemic believe continuous education is necessary to advance their career and 45 percent 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.”
The University conducted survey fieldwork among women nationwide in partnership with Atomik Research between May 1 and May 6, 2021. To read full study results, visit www.strayer.edu/workingwomen.
About Strayer University
Founded in 1892, Strayer University is an institution of higher learning for working adult students. It offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, information technology, education, health services administration, public administration and criminal justice. Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104 (267-284-5000, www.msche.org). The Commission is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. For more information, visit http://www.strayer.edu.