Women and youth are driving Ireland’s post-Covid employment boom, making it a ‘big hire’ rather than a US-style ‘big job’.
There are record numbers in the overall workforce – 2.5 million in 2021, an employment rate of over 74 pc – new data from the Central Bank shows that the biggest changes are among women over 35 and those under 25 entering jobs. and has been living.
It’s a different story for the US, where female labor force participation fell to a 20-year low during the pandemic and the job loss rate reached a record high for all employees.
In Ireland, a significant number of women took up jobs in ‘contact intensive’ sectors such as retail and hospitality in 2021, data from the Central Bank showed.
But there was also a boom in hiring women by IT, science and financial services firms – and they were hired at a much faster rate than men.
The central bank said flexible work induced by the pandemic does not entice more women to take up jobs.
In fact, the share of women with children was slightly lower in 2021 (36.1 pc) than in the four years before the Covid hit (39.8 pc).
While distance learning helped people under 25 remain in the workforce during the pandemic, longer-term trends in education, childcare and culture are likely to attract more women to work. And those trends were visible before the pandemic, the central bank said.
The force of economic recovery has also helped, as has the retirement of older women, who have traditionally been less likely to remain in the workforce.
Tara McIndoe, research economist at the Central Bank, said: “Our research shows that to date there is no strong evidence that changes during the pandemic, such as hybrid or fully remote working, have led to a recovery in employment in recent quarters.” were the major supporting factors.” Calder.
“Instead, participation expansion is largely related to women under-25 and over 35 years of age, who respond strongly to the state of the business cycle.
“Women over 35 saw an increase in their labor force participation due to underlying structural reasons that date back to the pandemic and are expected to continue for some time to come.”
Women over 35 are now working in ‘contact intensive’ service sectors, with the employed ratio increasing from 37.1 percent in 2015-19 to 51.2 percent in 2021.
The proportion of women over 35 employed in the public sector fell from 33.1 per cent to 21.4 per cent during the same period.
The share of skilled women over 35 in the workforce increased from 51 percent to 52.3 percent.
Even the share of women under the age of 25 in the workforce has increased from 48.1 percent to 52.1 percent.
The fastest growing sectors of the economy – IT, science and finance – are helping to boost female employment.
For example, firms in the ‘professional, scientific and technical’ sectors hired women at twice the rate of men during Covid (31 percent compared to 15.5 percent).
Women employed in information and communication firms grew by 38.8 percent in 2020 and 2021, while men grew by 27.6 percent.
If this trend continues, it will have a positive impact on pensions, as women make up a third less than men.