What is Keeping Women Out of the Workforce?
This week, we collaborated with Allie Nawrat at Unleash, to write about women leaving the US workforce.
Looking at data on employees at public companies in Northern America, the plot below tracks the rolling mean of monthly hiring rates of women and men. Although the numbers look similar until fairly recently, we observe a widening gap between hiring rates of men and women in the recent past, especially during the pandemic.
It is hard to disentangle whether this dip in women taking up new roles is driven by labor supply, or labor demand. However, we can look at how the market prices for childcare changed during the pandemic. The plot below tracks the percent change over time in the average salaries of childcare and caregiving positions, compared to other job postings.
We see a relative surge in salaries for roles in childcare in early 2021. Cost of childcare remained at this high level throughout 2021. This surge in childcare costs might be a contributing factor to why women are delaying taking up new roles, or are taking up less demanding roles outside of large public companies.
- The difference between hiring rates of women and men has widened during the pandemic.
- There was a relative surge in salaries for roles in childcare in early 2021. Cost of childcare remained at this high level throughout 2021.
- Women might be delaying taking up new roles, or taking up less demanding roles as a response to a tighter market for childcare.