You have probably seen the stats; women are abandoning the workforce at much higher rates than men. In September, the U.S. Labor Department reported that 860,000 women over 20 dropped out of the workforce, a number four times higher than the 216,000 men over 20 who left. Latinas exited at nearly three times the rate of white women. Before the pandemic, the rate of Latinas participating in the job market was surging to unprecedented levels.
Why have Latinas been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic?
Most had no choice. Their families needed them. According to data from McKinsey & Company and Lean In, mothers are three times more likely than fathers to be responsible for most of the housework and childcare during COVID-19. Latinas are also more likely to maintain a traditional view of motherhood and caregiving (for children as well as elderly family members). It is just not humanly possible to work full time and to take on the burden of cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling young children. No matter how difficult the decision, Latinas will choose familia (and sanity) before work. Another contributing factor is that job losses were higher in industries where Latinas are overrepresented, such as retail, hospitality, food, and other service sectors.
So, what will happen when we are able to return to work?
I think many of us will experience a dramatic shift in priorities and might not return to work or at least the same job and role that we were in before the pandemic. However, if we want to leave that option open here are some steps we can take:
Continue to network
We might not be able to meet people in person but that is no reason to stop connecting. It could be a simple “check-in” with a text or email, a scheduled a zoom, or leveraging your social media to update folks or provide valuable tips. Do not be shy about building new connections. Schedule time each day or get up a bit early to do this. Another great networking opportunity is learning-centered sessions or classes. There are plenty of those during the COVID-19 era.
Assess Your Skills and Address the Gaps
What skills describe what you like to do and what you are good at? What are your strengths? Soft skills such as great communication, working well with others, or problem solving are as important as your technical skills. What skills are transferable to other fields in case you would like to make a career change. Identify gaps and use any extra time you might have to improve upon or develop new skills. There are so many free resources! Go to your local librarian to get help or use Google to search. I recently brushed up on my Excel skills on YouTube for a new venture I am working on.
Update Your Resume
When was the last time you reviewed your LinkedIn profile or resume? If it has been a while, then you might want to remove old positions. I recently removed a couple of entry level jobs and bulleted positions held decades ago that are not as relevant anymore. The top half of your resume is crucial – the headline and summary as well as the roles most recently held. Make sure you get rid of dated phrases and skills.
Use the little free time that you may have to stay relevant, develop a plan to re-enter the workforce by leveraging your network, experience, and skills to find the perfect job and role when you are ready and able to return to work.