Time away from work hits women’s confidence harder than men’s

Report raises concerns over how women might be disproportionately impacted as lockdown ends and calls on government to provide greater support to those returning to work.

More than one in three workers experience a loss in confidence after spending a significant amount of time away from work, a study has found, with women almost twice as likely to be affected as men.

A poll of more than 1,000 people who had returned to work after an absence of a year, conducted by Survation for Vodafone UK, found 37 per cent of those who return to work after a year or more away experience a loss of confidence in their own ability.

This loss of confidence was nearly twice as prevalent in women (42 per cent) than in men (24 per cent).

The research also showed women returning to work were more likely to face barriers than men.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of women cited caring responsibilities as a challenge when returning to work, compared to 30 per cent of men; and 46 per cent of women cited childcare costs as a hurdle, compared to just 23 per cent of men.

Similarly, just under a third (31 per cent) of women returners said they found it hard to re-acclimatise to working life after a long break, compared to a quarter of men (25 per cent).

The report has raised concerns over how women might be disproportionately impacted as lockdown restrictions end and businesses prepare for the work from home advice to be lifted – potentially from 21 June.

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