While the unemployment rate in the U.K. appears to be stabilizing, the jobless rate for British women keeps rising – to the point that more than one million females are now without work.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a London-based professional institute for people management and development, women are now being disproportionately hit by job losses,
The CIPD warned that “cuts in public spending are already having an adverse impact on job prospects for women”, as the latest data from the Office for National Statistics showed a fall of 40,000 in the number of unemployed men, but an increase of 31,000 in the number of jobless women.
Total unemployment in Britain dropped by 9,000 in the third quarter, leaving the overall jobless figure almost unchanged at 2.45 million, while the UK’s unemployment rate remained steady at 7.7 per cent.
However, the number of jobless women has climbed by 77,000 to 1 million over the past year. Over the past two years, unemployment among women has spiked by 35 percent.
Indeed, the female unemployment rate now stands at 7 per cent -- its worst level since 1995.
John Philpott, the CIPD’s chief economic adviser, said that this quarter’s rise in employment was principally due to more men entering self-employment, while the female portion of the workforce was suffering from the squeeze on public-sector spending.
“Women are likely to have been adversely affected by fewer vacancies in public administration, education, health and social work,” Philpott said. “The public sector, which has a relatively high concentration of female workers, is also the only sector to record an increase in redundancies in the latest quarter.”
And given the government spending review set to encroach further with additional cuts, the outlook for female joblessness could get much worse.
Philpott added that whatever the overall rate of job creation in the economy in the coming months, “the negative impact on employment of fiscal austerity is likely to continue to hit women much harder than men.”
In Scotland, women are losing jobs at a rate more than seven times higher than for men.
Elaine Dougall, equalities officer for the union Unite, said women with families are being driven out of their jobs because they can’t afford child care as working hours lengthen.
“As budgets become tighter and employers need people to conform to certain work patterns, women are put in a position to choose between their caring commitments and work. The majority of our members are on the minimum wage and they are very concerned. A lot of families are under pressure.”
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said: “Women look likely to suffer rising joblessness for some time to come.”