Top jobs for women fall 40% year-on-year as Covid-19 widens gender inequality

  • Job openings in top 20 female dominated occupations fall 40.2% year-on-year
  • By comparison, openings in the top 20 occupations employing most men fall 11.8%
  • £6,700 pay gap between most popular male and female-held jobs
  • Pandemic restrictions affecting female dominated industries including Wedding & Events, Beauticians, Childcare, and Travel Agents

Jobs in the top 20 female occupations have plummeted 40% year-on-year as the pandemic disproportionately affects women, according to new research from global job search engine Adzuna

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Monday 8th March, Adzuna analysed hiring activity within the top 20 occupations held by men and women in the UK, to discover if either gender has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

Advertised vacancies within the top 20 occupations historically employing the most women have slipped 40.2% year-on-year, according to the research. This includes a 38.1% decline in jobs for sales and retail assistants, the top occupation held by women in 2020, with just 6,370 openings on offer in February 2021.

Compared to a year ago, hiring has fallen in 19 of the top 20 occupations historically employing the most women. This includes substantial declines in opportunities for receptionists (-52.0%), nursery nurses and assistants (-42.9%), personal assistants and other secretaries (-49.3%) and hairdressers and barbers (-37.3%). Care workers and home carers was the only occupation to see a hiring rise (+45.9%).

By comparison, hiring activity within the top 20 occupations historically employing the most men has fallen just 11.8%. Job openings increased year-on-year in 6 of the top 20 male occupations, namely warehouse workers (+37.0%), large goods drivers (+76.6%), van drivers (+14.0%), electricians (+12.8%), carpenters and joiners (+15.9%) and construction and building trades (+26.0%).

Women account for 49.8% of the UK’s professional and technical workers, but make up just 36.3% of legislators, senior officials and managers, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of women are employed in other sectors severely affected by pandemic restrictions, including the Wedding Industry (80% women), Beauticians (64% women), Childmilders (95% women), and Travel agents (86% women). With just 2,498 Travel vacancies currently up for grabs and only 2,956 event manager roles available, opportunities for those affected to find new roles are limited.

The research also reveals a gender-pay gap within the top 20 female and male occupations. Adzuna data finds the average advertised salary on offer for jobs historically employing most women is   £32,749, compared to £39,482 for men, showing women are more likely to be in lower paid roles.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “The pandemic has hurt job prospects for women. Hiring in jobs historically employing women has been hit hard. Covid-19 has left many women with lower pay, fewer options, and often shouldering the burden of increased caring needs. There is a danger that the last twelve months could widen the gender pay gap and increase inequality. We must not allow that to happen. 

“We need to take a long hard look at how we support women through the pandemic and into work. Part of this is about opening up more roles to women, through better flexible working and improving childcare options. But we also need a shift in mentality to encourage more women into high growth sectors like Logistics, Tech & Manufacturing, ensuring they benefit from the opportunities being created in these areas.”

Table 1: Top 20 Jobs for Women

Job TitleNumber of jobs held by women, 2020Available vacancies, Feb 2021Change YoYAverage advertised salary, Feb 2021
1Sales and retail assistants823,1836,370-38.1%£25,541
2Care workers and home carers776,72214,739+45.9%£20,647
4Cleaners and domestics589,5007,688-2.1%£19,284
5Other administrative occupations526,48522,482-34.9%£23,965
6Primary and nursery education teaching professionals424,7567,853-9.7%£35,759
7Teaching assistants391,96311,591-24.0%£20,930
8Book-keepers, payroll managers and wages clerks335,49416,996-19.9%£37,091
9Kitchen and catering assistants319,0861,248-69.1%£19,296
10Nursing auxiliaries and assistants315,7403,329-8.7%£31,197
11Secondary education teaching professionals278,11516,287-28.9%£38,642
12Waiters and waitresses220,593859-98.5%£18,155
13Nursery nurses and assistants212,0358,018-42.9%£23,888
14Customer service occupations211,80614,592-25.7%£22,194
15Sales accounts and business development managers195,70450,836-22.2%£45,893
16Personal assistants and other secretaries185,9344,238-49.3%£31,795
18Retail cashiers and check-out operators179,374665-45.3%£24,807
19Hairdressers and barbers169,309604-37.3%£22,332
20Teaching and other educational professionals166,61852,173-26.4%£33,159
Weighted average-40.2%£32,749

Table 2: Top 20 Jobs for Men

Job TitleNumber of jobs held by men, 2020Advertised vacancies, Feb 2021Change YoYAverage advertised salary, Feb 2021
1Sales and retail assistants498,8626,370-38.1%£25,541
2Warehouse workers436,9727,594+37.0%£22,110
3Large goods vehicle drivers326,0788,240+76.6%£27,539
4Production managers and directors in manufacturing311,7932,630-19.6%£43,645
5Sales accounts and business development managers297,38350,807-22.2%£45,892
6Programmers and software development professionals252,20024,537-2.6%£54,359
7Electricians and electrical fitters241,89941,109+12.8%£38,856
8Carpenters and joiners240,9705,912+15.9%£36,385
9Construction and building trades 236,21773,547+26.0%£42,376
10Taxi and cab drivers and chauffeurs226,804251-16.6%£25,240
11Kitchen and catering assistants222,2861,248-69.1%£19,296
12Van drivers221,5931,626+14.0%£25,722
14Secondary education teaching professionals200,19316,287-29.7%£38,642
15Vehicle technicians, mechanics and electricians199,8772,659-13.1%£32,184
16Production managers and directors in construction188,2766,250-13.5%£50,608
17Metal working production and maintenance fitters186,9093,454-17.2%£36,440
18Security guards and related occupations178,032814-17.0%£20,959
19Elementary construction occupations173,83914,308-20.4%£31,168
20Other administrative occupations167,38722,482-34.9%£23,965
Weighted Average-11.8%£39,482