Gender equality and diversity: reskilling, upskilling and returning workers to the hospitality workforce post-Covid
Gina Oglesby, Back to Work Connect interview
Since the beginning of the pandemic, many studies have pointed out the disproportionate impacts of Covid-19 on the female workforce (OECD a, 2020, European Parliament 2020, UN Women 2020). Arguably the pandemic exacerbated structural inequalities that already existed (UN 2020, Wenham, Smith and Morgan 2020). Women faced differential economic risks, having been overrepresented in hardest-hit sectors of the economy, facing several barriers in business, being more vulnerable to the economic impacts of the crisis, and having to take care of family responsibilities, forcing them to leave their jobs and studies (OECD a, 2021). Furthermore, according to the World Forum Economic Report (2020), since the beginning of the pandemic, displaced workers have been on average more likely to be female, younger and earning a lower wage (p. 17). In the tourism and hospitality industry, the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on women were even more visible as they are more likely to work in this hard-hit sector supplying 60% of the workforce in accommodation, 53% in food and beverage and 47% in air transport around the globe (OECD b, 2021, p 7). Covid-19 impacted jobs and hours of work – particularly for this group (Renaud et al., 2020). Additionally, the loss of jobs in the sector, already highly gendered, the social struggle women have facing as caregivers during the pandemic and the barriers found in applying – for jobs led to more inequalities in the job market.