Female workforce participation increases in India during COVID-19-induced lockdown: LinkedIn report

Female workforce participation increased in India during the coronavirus-induced lockdown as the share of female hires increased from around 30 per cent in April to 37 per cent at the end of July, says a LinkedIn report.

According to the second edition of LinkedIn 'Labour Market Update', hiring continues to recover in the country and the gender parity has improved.

Female workforce participation increased from 30 per cent in April to 37 per cent at the end of July and hiring has picked up by 25 percentage points by the end of July as compared to June, the report said.

However, risks of second-wave of infections still remain, and further recovery may also be tempered by the weak economic outlook, it added.

Globally, lockdown measures put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 had a more severe impact on the share of women being hired.

LinkedIn's global analysis showed that the hiring of women in many developed countries followed a U-shaped trajectory in 2020, dipping in April before recovering in June and July. However, India bucked the trend in maintaining and even increasing gender parity, it noted.

"In India, work from home has certainly boosted gender parity and emerged as a great equaliser in terms of gender diversity with an increase in female representation across key sectors.

"The lockdown, which promoted acceptance of the work from home concept supported by flexible work hours, has emerged as an opportunity for women to rebuild their careers and start afresh," said Pei Ying Chua, APAC Lead Economist, Economic Graph team at LinkedIn.

Gender parity has improved across many industries. Female representation grew by 8 percentage points across Corporate Services, Education, Health Care and Media and Communications, the report noted.

With the exception of the manufacturing sector, female representation across most industries increased during the lockdown period.

Increase in female representation was more pronounced in industries which already had higher gender parity, to begin with (such as Corporate Services, Education, Health Care and Media & Communications) - female representation grew by 8 percentage points on average, in contrast with the 4 percentage points rise seen for industries that started out with lower gender parity (like Consumer Goods, Finance, Manufacturing and Software & IT).

The report further noted that talent with more advanced digital skills has weathered the COVID storm better than those with basic digital skills - the hiring dip for talent with advanced digital skills was 1.8x less than talent with basic digital skills.

Basic digital skills are defined as digital literacy skills to access e-mail and basic applications such as Microsoft Office, versus advanced disruptive digital skills (defined as skills required for designing and developing new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics).

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