Economic sectors at risk due to COVID-19 disruptions: will men and women in the EU be affected similarly?

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Publication Date 2020
ISBN 978-92-76-21073-3
ISSN 1831-9424
EC KJ-NA-30327-EN-N
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In this note we assess the economic risk male and female workers face due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. We apply two different approaches: one developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and one by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP). Both approaches show that an alarmingly large number of workers are potentially negatively affected by COVID-related employment problems across the EU. The extent of the problem, as well as the relations between the situation of males and females are however rather different across the two calculations.

With Manufacturing listed among the high-risk sectors, the ILO-based estimates indicate that altogether almost 89 million jobs in the EU are in high-risk sectors, with a woman working in 43 per cent of these. CEDEFOP, on the other hand, is not considering Manufacturing as being particularly exposed to the crisis in Europe, and therefore calculations based on the CEDEFOP classification suggest that altogether, “only” 44 million jobs are in high-risk sectors, 51 per cent of which are however filled by female workers. Considering the share of employees working in badly hit sectors, the relative risk of female employees is much higher than that of men. Altogether 25 per cent of employed women while only 20 per cent of employed men work in these sectors in the whole EU. Similar or even stronger disparities are found within the majority of the Member States.

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