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The pandemic has impacted Oregon women’s jobs. Will they bounce back? – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-06-10 10:00:00 –

Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of a series that looks at how pandemics have affected women in the economy and workforce. Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3

Portland, Oregon (KOIN) — In February 2020, Lydia Swift had no plans to leave her 12-year career at WE Communications in Portland. She loved everything about it-her colleague, storytelling she had to do, and how she felt challenged to work years later. But then a pandemic broke out and she had to rethink her career path.

Lydia Swift takes pictures with her husband and his sons. Photo courtesy of Lydia Swift

In March 2020, Swift had a five-month-old baby and another son in kindergarten. When his school and day care were closed, she soon realized that there was no way she could manage her childcare while she was still spending enough time on her work. She decided to quit.

“My career was very important and valuable to me at the time. It was really hard to leave it,” she said.

Swift is one of the millions of mothers in the United States who quit their jobs during a pandemic. According to the US Census Bureau, between March and April 2020, about 3.5 million mothers with school-age children retired. That is, they took paid or unpaid leave, lost their jobs, or left the workforce altogether.

Census Bureau Report Most of them increased in the number of mothers with school-age children from April 2020 to January 2021, but still about 1.6 million less than in January 2020.

Grayson Dempsey, Former Interim Executive Director Dress for success Oregon said Swift’s story is similar to what many women have heard throughout the pandemic. Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that helps women acquire the skills and wardrobes they need to find and get a job, has seen many mothers who have lost or quit their jobs in the last 15 months go to work. We are helping you to come back.

“The challenge is … looking for a new job when there is a lack of childcare, children at home, and many children when their families really need to be prioritized,” explained Dempsey.

Randali De Santos and her husband and daughter. Photo courtesy of Randali De Santos

Like Swift, another Portland mother, Randari de Santos, quit her job early in the pandemic. She worked in the travel industry, which was hit hard during the shutdown. She said she wasn’t fired from her job, but her employer offered her two options: move to Seattle or receive a severance pay.

De Santos chose the retirement package. She said moving was not a good option for them, as her husband was still working in Portland and a nearby family.

“When I switched from a working mom to a non-working mom, and vice versa, it was another identity change and it was really difficult,” said De Santos.

She has been a working mother since her daughter was born two and a half years ago.

Oregon economist Josh Lehner has been investigating the impact of pandemics on his parents’ work over the past year. According to his research, Oregon’s mothers have returned to a larger workforce due to the booming economy in the years leading up to the pandemic.

The graph shows the labor force participation rate of mothers in Oregon from 2000 to 2020.Graph courtesy of Oregon Bureau of Economic Analysis

Lehner fears that a pandemic could cancel many of these benefits.

“Whenever we see a major change like we’ve seen in the last year, we fear that some of the damage, some of the changes, will be permanent or structural,” he said. “I’m optimistic that there aren’t many structural changes, but I’m always worried when I see a big dip.”

Career professionals provide support and advice

Jenny Han McKee began to worry when she started looking for a job in December 2020.

The two mothers moved from Los Angeles to Portland in late 2019. Her husband started working shortly after moving, but Hammucky planned to work on some home renovations before finding a job for himself. When the pandemic broke out, her sons were struggling with distance learning. She postponed job hunting for months to help them.

Han McKee worked for American Honda for 20 years before moving to Portland. When she started looking for a job, she noticed that the application process changed in many ways. She found that for many of the jobs she applied for, her resume did not reach the recruitment manager directly. Instead, it was run through an applicant tracking system that could exclude resumes based on keywords, skills, years of experience, and more.

Jenny Han McKee stands in front of her Portland home with her two sons. Taken on March 29, 2021. KOIN photo

Han McKee knew she needed guidance. She hired a career coach and resume writer Anna Jones.

“I decided this was an investment in my career, so it was worth hiring an expert,” said Han McKee.

Jones, who owns Girl.Copy, a digital copywriting and consulting agency in Portland, has worked with many women who lost their jobs during a pandemic. She said losing a job may feel like a farewell, but it’s also an opportunity for people to reassess their career trajectory and the type of job they want.

“People want to get back to work, but they want to get back to work on their own terms. It’s powerful to me because people have power. In my opinion, it’s powerful. The company shouldn’t tell you how. We work, “she said.

The pandemic has opened people’s eyes to what working from home looks like, and many people looking for a job are now looking for a job that they can do at home, she said.

Dress For Success’s Dempsey is seeing more women looking for remote work. She said work flexibility and access to childcare are two of the biggest factors in deciding whether a woman will return to work when the pandemic is alleviated.

“Women are often the ones who decide not to get a more challenging and well-paid job because they need the flexibility to be with their family,” she said.

Both Jones and Dempsey want more women to return to work, and both share advice.

Jones said remote jobs are so popular right now that he is instructing clients to extend their search beyond geographic locations. For moms who didn’t work during the pandemic, she suggests having a “at home” mom or “caretaker” on her resume. She also said she mentioned volunteer and freelance work completed during the pandemic. She also said it’s okay to show that there are gaps in her 2020 resume. Most employers will understand.

Dempsey recommends investigating remote interview best practices and testing virtual platforms before the interview. She also effectively recommends a network of people by reaching out to those who are willing to help connect with former colleagues, friends, family and employers. She said she needed to update her LinkedIn profile and audit her online presence to help potential employers find specialized information in their searches.

She also said that people need to be open to the idea of ​​pivoting their careers.

“If you were 50 and worked in the restaurant industry for the rest of your life … not only would you always lose a catastrophic job, but you wouldn’t even know when the industry would be re-employed,” she said. Told.

The leisure and hospitality industry was the hardest-hit employment sector in Oregon. In the industry, more than half of the work was done by women. As those jobs begin to return, Dempsey expects more women to return to work.

Dempsey said he recently saw women find good luck in working in health care, technology, trade, delivery companies, real estate companies, and government.

It is possible to find a job during a pandemic

For Han McKee, Jones’ help and advice paid off. In June she started a new job. She said it’s in a completely different industry than Honda, but it’s exactly in the direction she wanted to go in her career.

“Taking a focused and deliberate approach to guide my career was a terrifying and challenging process, but I’m excited about the results,” she told KOIN6News by email.

De Santos and Swift also found a new career.

De Santos said he found a job working in health IT. The work is remote and she is excited. Her manager gives her the flexibility to find stable childcare.

Lydia Swift and Sharon Pope, who co-founded Shelpful during the pandemic, take pictures with their children. Photo courtesy of Lydia Swift

Swift launched his own business, Helpful, With a friend in March 2021. She said on the job that this was the happiest she ever had.

Lehner expects more women to return to work as nursery capacity increases and schools reopen in the fall. He said that reopening school not only creates more jobs in the education sector, but also allows more parents to return to work rather than spending time caring for their children. He said that the effect would boost double work.

He said the good thing about this recession is that it is not expected to last long. The Bureau of Economic Analysis of Oregon predicted that it would last about three years from start to finish. More than 15 months have passed since the pandemic began, and Lehner expects a full recovery within two years.

Dempsey agrees that it is possible, but said it would require many people to work together and a unified effort to support childcare in the United States.

“There are many challenges, and we all will really need private companies, nonprofits, governments, advocacy, politics … to ensure that women do not lose their position as a result of this recession. “She says. Said.

Swift said spending months without work gave him time to imagine the most effective career for him. She wants other women to take the time to do the same and get back there.

“We are very skilled and valuable and should not be part of an overlooked population,” she said. “So get out there, start something, do your own thing, and make your own way.”

The pandemic has impacted Oregon women’s jobs. Will they bounce back? Source link The pandemic has impacted Oregon women’s jobs. Will they bounce back?

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