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  • Writer's pictureVik F.

The Surge of Women Balancing Multiple Jobs in Today's Workforce

As we move further from the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the dynamics of the workforce are changing, with women playing a pivotal role in this transformation. Recent data reveals a significant trend: an increasing number of women, particularly those aged 25 to 54, are not only re-entering the workforce but are also taking on multiple jobs to meet their financial and familial needs.

In February 2024, labor force participation among "prime age" women reached 77.7%, a figure close to the peak of 77.8% seen in June 2023, and the highest since 2007. This resurgence is significant, marking a steady return and growth since the pandemic's disruptive effects on employment. Lauren Bauer, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, underscores the crucial role of these women in driving the labor market's recovery post-Covid recession.

A detailed analysis by the scheduling software company Deputy, which examined over 81 million shifts of 420,219 hourly workers, has shown a more than double increase in poly-employment (holding multiple jobs) since 2021. Interestingly, women constitute 60% of this workforce segment, indicating a pronounced shift in employment patterns.

So, why are more women juggling multiple jobs? The answer lies partly in the sectors where women predominantly work. Women are overrepresented in sectors like healthcare, hospitality, and services—fields known for lower-than-average wages. With the U.S. living wage calculated at around $25 per hour, the average earnings in these sectors fall short, pushing many women to seek additional work.

Moreover, certain demographic factors amplify this trend. Young women often start in lower-paying entry-level positions. Single women, particularly those who are never married, widowed, or divorced, frequently take on extra jobs to cope with high living costs and inflation. In cities like Denver, Atlanta, and New York, the financial burden on single individuals is markedly higher, making multiple jobs a necessity for many.

Race and ethnicity also play a role in this economic landscape. Black and Hispanic women, often employed in the service sector, are more likely to need additional jobs to achieve a sustainable income.

Beyond economic necessity, the choice to engage in multiple jobs is sometimes driven by the quest for flexible scheduling. This is particularly true for married women with young children, who seek to balance work with family responsibilities. The lack of affordable childcare exacerbates this situation, leading many to opt for poly-employment to create a manageable work-life balance.

Deputy's CEO, Silvija Martincevic, notes the impact of this trend on women belonging to the "sandwich generation," who are caught between caring for both their children and aging parents. The need for scheduling flexibility, prompted by these caregiving responsibilities, often dictates their engagement in multiple jobs.

In summary, the evolving workforce landscape shows that women are increasingly at its helm, navigating through economic pressures and societal expectations. The rise in multiple job holdings among women is a testament to their resilience and adaptability, as they shape a new narrative in the post-pandemic era. As we look towards the future, understanding and supporting the multifaceted roles of women in the workforce becomes paramount in fostering an inclusive and equitable economic environment.




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