New study will explore the impact of Covid-19 on gender inequalities in the UK workforce

Wednesday, 03 February 2021

A new study by social inequality experts will investigate how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the working lives of people in the UK and the potential differences in the experiences of men and women.

The University of Nottingham, in collaboration with the UK Women’s Budget Group, is examining how the workplaces of women and men, and the very experience of work, have been impacted as the pandemic effects rolled out in 2020 and into 2021.

Researchers will analyse whether the pandemic is narrowing or reinforcing existing gender inequalities in ways of working, and whether it has created new inequalities.

Through access to large datasets, the team will produce new multi-dimensional gendered analyses of the working lives of women and men in the UK. The experts will be able to track key labour force changes as the effects of the pandemic roll out and assess if there are differences among women and men in their levels of unemployment, their hours worked and typical earnings.

The study will also allow for analysis of different industries and workplaces, including which businesses were most likely to close; the extent of remote working; and whether this varied by gender composition of the workers.

The project, led by Professor Tracey Warren and Dr Luis Torres of Nottingham University Business School, has been awarded funding to accelerate use of data for vital Covid-19 research following a rapid call for initiatives by Health Data Research UK, the Office for National Statistics and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It will expand on Professor Warren’s existing research project, in collaboration with Professor Clare Lyonette at the University of Warwick and the UK Women’s Budget Group, analysing how the pandemic is affecting working-class women.

The research project will form part of the larger Data and Connectivity National Core Study. This study is led by Health Data Research UK in partnership with the Office for National Statistics and enables access to health and administrative data from across the UK and provides the infrastructure for vital data research.

Tracey Warren - edited
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work. It has created job loss, work instability, financial hardship and great insecurity. It is generating deep problems for much of the working population in the UK, but it also impacts in starkly different ways on different groups of workers. This project will allow us to build a full picture of the entire UK workforce and pinpoint areas or groups which need urgent help.
Professor Tracey Warren, Nottingham University Business School

Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the UK Women’s Budget Group, said: “The Women’s Budget Group is delighted to be part of this really important project. Early data shows that the pandemic, and Government response, has had a gendered impact. This project will provide valuable new evidence showing which groups have been hardest hit in order to inform policy interventions.”

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More information is available from Professor Tracey Warren at or Dr Luis Torres at at the Nottingham University Business School

Katie Andrews - Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5751

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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