A young mother facing redundancy due to Covid-19 feels she has had her independence snatched away just as “things were getting better for me”.
Anne, 25, is one of thousands of young mums who have seen their jobs evaporate due to the shutdown, and fears she could face a battle to get back into the workplace.
Recent research by PwC revealed 78% of people that have already lost their jobs due to the pandemic are women, as they are often in the most insecure employment.
Anne, who chose not to give her real name, had been on a six-month rolling contract in administration at a London university, but was told it would not be renewed in August.
She had been on a short-term contract despite her manager asking for her to be made permanent staff.
”I feel the senior managers were stopping it and protecting the institution by always doing temporary contracts in the case of something like this happening,” she said.
“It means they wouldn’t be so liable or responsible. It is just better for that institution.”
Anne, who has a degree in geography and business management, now faces trying to survive with her two-year-old son on universal credit.
“Generally speaking I don’t find it difficult to get jobs, however these are unprecedented times and obviously there is going to be more competition and so that is something I fear because there are just lots of job cuts,” she said.
Anne, who has found support with the Young Women’s Trust, said lots of people have reported admin jobs disappearing during shutdown as companies try and shift paperwork online.
“Since remote working was introduced because of lockdown, a lot of processes have become automated and electronic – why would companies go back to paper-based administration?,” she said.
Anne was receiving in-work credits, but had been hoping to come off them once her son was in nursery and she could work longer hours.
“I was well on that path to full independence and things were getting better for me,” she said.
“All I had to do was slowly increase my days as my son grows up and I could come off universal credit, so I am just really hoping I will be able to find a job and go back on to that path,” she said.
Anne plans to retrain as a social worker once she has enough free time to study.
“I feel like I have the motivation and experience to help and give back to my community – it’s quite exciting but I know I can’t run before I can walk. I have to be patient,” she said.
“Because of the expense of childcare, I am waiting for my son to get to the last year of nursery or first year of primary school – it is a challenge for mums.”
Joe Levenson, director of communications and campaigns at Young Women’s Trust, said: “Young women are amongst the hardest hit by the financial and domestic impact of coronavirus as they have been forced to take on even more caring responsibilities due to school closures and restrictions on support from family members.
“Many have lost their jobs and others face reduced hours or can only return to work if their employer is willing to be flexible.
“We are really concerned that women’s equality is already moving backwards and will continue to do so in the absence of a strong focus within Government and from employers on preventing this from happening – and are urging those in charge of recovery planning to ensure that no young woman is left behind.”