61% of Women Say COVID-19 is Hurting Their Career

61% of Women Say COVID-19 is Hurting Their Career

Survey finds COVID-19 restrictions are especially harmful to women in the workforce
A mother on a work call while caring for her children

The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the U.S. economy, causing small businesses nationwide to shutter their doors and the unemployment rate to skyrocket. A new survey, though, reveals one group that has been hit particularly hard by the damaging effects of the pandemic — women in the workforce.

A new survey from UBS Global Wealth Management reveals that a staggering 61% of women said that the COVID-19 crisis has been hurting their career — with raises and promotions being put on hold and many being forced to think about leaving the workforce altogether.

COVID-19 impact on women’s careers

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the U.S. workforce, UBS’ survey found that women’s careers are in an especially vulnerable position. In fact, the survey reveals that 61% of women said the COVID-19 crisis has been hurting their career, with 4 in 10 women claiming that raises or promotions have been put on hold.

Additionally, 4 in 10 women also said they are working less to help kids with distance learning at home — as many schools have moved online in order to slow the virus spread.

The survey also revealed another sobering statistic — 1 in 4 women have delayed their retirement plans, while another 1 in 4 women have thought about leaving the workforce altogether. Furthermore, the survey found that while 24% of women earned more during the crisis, that was significantly less than the 31% of men who said the same.

Women shoulder most of the work at home

One potential explanation for the especially damaging impact the pandemic has had on women’s careers could be chalked up to the amount of work women shoulder at home, compared to their male counterparts.

The UBS survey found that when compared to the work done by their partner, 67% of women tackle "remote schooling duties" (compared to just 46% of men), 67% take on child care (compared to 40% of men), 64% are responsible for cleaning (compared to 38% of men) and 70% handle the cooking (compared to 43% of men).

It’s likely that women’s careers are taking an especially hard hit as a result of many having to take on the majority of the household work. It can certainly be difficult to climb up the career ladder while also handling distance learning, cooking, cleaning and more at home.

Despite the difficulties of juggling multiple priorities, 62% of women surveyed said they have a better work-life balance by working remotely and 66% said they plan to work from home more often once pandemic restrictions ease up.

Gaps between women’s financial intentions and actions

The survey findings, however, also included its fair share of silver linings. The report found that women are more financially engaged as a result of the pandemic, with 68% discussing money more with their partner and 49% discussing inheritance with their kids.

However, UBS did discover significant gaps between women who intended to take positive financial actions — such as reviewing their financial situation and updating long-term care plans — and those who actually did so. This discrepancy between intention and action is understandable when you look at the amount of household work women take on, many in addition to their careers — there are, in fact, only so many hours in a day.

Methodology: For its report, UBS Wealth surveyed 1,507 U.S. investors (991 women and 516 men) between Dec. 21, 2020 and Jan. 4, 2021. They were made up of 25- to 30-year-olds with at least $250,000 in investable assets, 31- to 39-year-olds with at least $500,000 in investable assets and those 40 or above with at least $1 million in investable assets. Findings were compared to a similar study conducted in May of 2020 among 1,007 U.S. investors.

Sarah Berger is a staff writer for LendingTree, based in New York City. Sarah is passionate about helping young adults take control of their financial futures, serving as LendingTree’s resident expert on the unique personal finances challenges and opportunities facing millennials.