We saw that women were disproportionately affected by layoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic as early as March. According to the data from The Bureau of Labor Statistics released at the beginning of September, that margin is getting thinner – but women are still trailing behind. Even more disturbing is the data showing BIPOC unemployment at way higher rates.
Emily Martin, VP for education and workplace justice at NWLC told CNBC back in May that she believes this disproportionate rate is not only linked to the industries women are represented in, but also to the type of roles women have.
“Women are disproportionately those who do the lowest paid jobs in our economy, and so, when you have a crisis like this, those jobs are often the first ones that employers let go. These are employees, who by definition, an employer isn’t valuing as much and so I think that’s one reason why we’re seeing women losing their jobs at higher rates.”
Martin says she criticizes any company that has become relaxed in their diversity and inclusion efforts, emphasizing that “we are not going to have a successful recovery unless we really center those who are being harmed the most by this crisis, and that means focusing on the needs of women, specifically women of color.”
So what have companies been doing? Are they closing the gap like they should?
Employers should be taking a close look at who they are laying off and who they’re bringing back. Equity should be part of their framework when it comes to making these decisions. Why does it matter? Companies with high racial and ethnic diversity among their employees outperformed their counterpart companies by 35%. Wait, there’s more: 67% of their potential employees are seeking out diverse companies. Not only is seeking out a diverse and inclusive workforce the right thing to do, but the benefits are astronomical.
When it comes to recruiting and re-hiring, we urge you to care relentlessly and uplift the group hit disproportionally by layoffs during COVID-19. Value and uplift BIPOC women.
At PeopleLift our team has been recovering and building over the last few months. Not only has our team grown nearly 3x, we’re proud to say we’re currently 77% woman power and 38% BIPOC. If your business is recovering and hiring, we are here to consult with you and your team on how you can also be moving towards a more diverse and inclusive workforce without hesitation.