Women and young people are driving Ireland’s post-Covid jobs boom, making it more of a US-style “big hire” than a “big layoff”.
Despite there being record numbers in the labor force overall – 2.5 million in 2021, an employment rate of over 74 percent – new central bank data shows the biggest shift is among women over 35 and people under 25, the one take up and keep employment.
The situation is different in the US, where female labor force participation fell to a 20-year low during the pandemic and the attrition rate for all employees hit a record high.
In Ireland, large numbers of women took up jobs in “contact-intensive” sectors such as retail and hospitality in 2021, central bank data shows.
But there has also been an increase in hiring of women in IT, science and financial services companies – and they were hired much faster than men.
The flexible work caused by the pandemic doesn’t appear to be attracting more women into jobs, the central bank said.
In fact, a slightly lower proportion of women with children were employed in 2021 (36.1 percent) than in the four years before the Covid outbreak (39.8 percent).
While distance learning has helped under-25s stay in the workforce during the pandemic, longer-term trends in education, childcare and culture may have attracted more women into the workforce. And those trends were visible before the pandemic, the central bank said.
The strength of the economic recovery has also contributed, as has the retirement of older women, who are traditionally less likely to stay in the labor force.
“Our research suggests that, to date, there is no unequivocal evidence that changes during the pandemic, such as the shift to hybrid or full remote work, were the dominant factors supporting the employment recovery in recent quarters,” the said Central Bank Research Economist Tara McIndoe-Kalder.
“Instead, the broadening of participation was mainly related to under-25s and women over 35, who tend to be highly sensitive to the state of the business cycle.
“Women over 35 have seen increases in their labor force participation for underlying structural reasons that pre-pandemic and are expected to continue for some time to come.”
More women over 35 are now working in “contact-intensive” service sectors, with the proportion employed increasing from 37.1 per cent in 2015-19 to 51.2 per cent in 2021.
The proportion of women over the age of 35 employed in the public sector fell from 33.1% to 21.4% in the same period.
The proportion of highly qualified women over 35 in the labor force increased from 51% to 52.3%.
Even the proportion of women under the age of 25 in the workforce has increased from 48.1 to 52.1 percent.
The fastest growing sectors of the economy – IT, science and finance – are contributing to the increase in female employment.
For example, companies in the “professional, scientific and technical” sector hired twice as many women as men during the Covid-19 pandemic (31 percent versus 15.5 percent).
In 2020 and 2021, there was a 38.8 percent increase in women employed in information and communications companies, compared to a 27.6 percent increase in men.
If the trend continues, this would have a positive effect on pensions, since women receive a third less than men.
https://www.independent.ie/business/jobs/irelands-jobs-boom-is-being-driven-by-women-and-younger-workers-41807923.html Ireland’s job boom is being driven by women and younger workers