The unprecedented pandemic has pushed many out of the workforce since March 2020, women primarily. During the pandemic, one in four women considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers versus one in five men. (McKinsey, 2021) 

““If we continue on with the rate of change that we saw in the April jobs report, it will take women 28 months to return to their pre-pandemic employment levels. That’s staggering,” said Cherita Ellens, chief executive of Women Employed, a nonprofit that champions fair workplace policies for women.” (McCarthy, 2021) This inequality issue perhaps represents an opportunity. If companies can listen and learn what are the factors that are important for the retention of women’s employment, there is a possibility of retaining the employees most affected by today’s crises and nurture a culture in which women have the opportunity to achieve their potential over the long term.

We decided to break down our data to shed some insight into this issue. Over 13 million job listings were analyzed from 2019-2021, split between the categories of jobs most- and least- occupied by women to better understand the relationship between the importance of flexibility, cash benefits, and remote work and employee retention. 

Women in the workforce

Year/QuarterTotal #BenefitsCashInflexibleRemote
2019 / 170531315.27%12.59%12.10%1.66%
2019 / 281142616.54%15.70%13.28%2.81%
2019 / 397067814.26%12.88%11.94%2.61%
2019 / 4 99113917.93%16.14%14.53%3.19%
2020 / 1102851517.19%15.46%13.64%2.93%
2020 / 241820121.36%18.65%17.31%3.22%
2020 / 375865926.36%23.43%18.30%3.61%
2020 / 492299929.36%26.04%19.12%3.20%
2021 / 1102229028.42%25.10%15.66%3.05%
2021 / 282974623.90%20.03%12.85%2.61%

Men in the Workforce 

Year/QuarterTotal #BenefitsCashInflexibleRemote
2019 / 17384180.10%0.08%0.06%0.01%
2019 / 25622490.12%0.10%0.09%0.02%
2019 / 36588660.11%0.09%0.10%0.03%
2019 / 4 6001470.17%0.14%0.15%0.03%
2020 / 16429520.19%0.17%0.16%0.03%
2020 / 23347050.62%0.65%0.55%0.09%
2020 / 33443620.33%0.37%0.34%0.07%
2020 / 43816910.23%0.31%0.24%0.03%
2021 / 15128960.27%0.32%0.28%0.04%
2021 / 24094310.28%0.33%0.30%0.05%

Main takeaways:

  • In general, jobs which are the most male-oriented are dramatically less accommodating in terms of benefits, cash bonuses, flexible work arrangements, and remote work.  
  • Companies are increasing their advertising for remote work, cash and non-cash benefits for all types of jobs, but the overall numbers for male-oriented jobs remain significantly smaller than for female-oriented jobs
  • For female-oriented jobs the proportion of advertised jobs which inhibit flexible work arrangements has remained relatively flat, while the proportion in male-oriented jobs has increased.

McCarthy, E. (2021, July 6). Many moms left the workforce during the pandemic. For some, going back isn’t so simple. The Washington Post.

“Seven Charts That Show COVID-19’s Impact on Women’s Employment.” McKinsey & Company, McKinsey & Company, 20 Apr. 2021,