It’s the time of the ‘great resignation’ for some women in the workplace

People are using the upheaval of the pandemic to hit the “re-do” button on their work lives. Some are leaving their jobs permanently, many are changing careers, while some are furthering their education.

This time period is being called “the great resignation” because of the number of people quitting their jobs. In early October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said 4.3 million people, or 2.9% of the workforce, quit their jobs in August. This was a record.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported 309,000 women age 20 or older voluntarily left the workplace in September. This means they quit their job or are no longer looking for one.

Robert Eyler, Sonoma State University economics expert, wonders if the women not in the workforce are in school prepping to change careers for personal growth or the realization their old job might not exist.

“A great way to fill that gap on the resume is to get educated or expand education,” he said.

Hello Alice, a firm that helps entrepreneurs launch a company or build on what they have, has experienced a substantial uptick in business since the pandemic started.

“We are seeing the dynamics of the women joining the platform change. What we have seen this year is they haven’t started a business yet, but have a really good idea or are in the launch stage,” Megan MacDonald, vice president of marketing, told the Business Journal. “That dynamic is more present with females than males.”

Hello Alice was started by Elizabeth Gore of Healdsburg and Carolyn Rodz of Texas.

“As it relates to industry level data, we see more women in beauty and self-care on a percentage basis in the launch phase than last year, and similar with arts-entertainment-recreation,” MacDonald said. “Our owner growth from 2019 to 2020 was up 1,100%.”

Growth is expected this year, too, but the company would not release projections.

This September and October have been the biggest months of the year in terms of people joining the platform and the number of business owners participating. This is attributed to school being back in session and people being able to focus on their careers.

As of the second quarter this year, more than half of the women using Hello Alice were at least 40 years old, with three-quarters of the women with a small business being mothers.

“We heard loud and clear early on that people used the destruction of COVID to do lot of self-reflection to decide if what they were doing for work was what they wanted to do for work in the future,” MacDonald said.

The answer for many women is they wanted something of their own—a business where they called the shots instead of someone else. Which also means they may have more flexibility to care for their children.

Women more than men have a history of having jobs that don’t pay well. Brookings Institution found that in 2018 46% of all working women and 37% of men work in low-wage professions, with the median hourly wage being $10.93.

Employment recruitment platform ZipRecruiter reports people want out of retail and hospitality and into work that can be remote.

Housekeeping at lodging properties are jobs often filled by women. While travel came to a screeching halt for much of the world and hotels laid off staff, the return of tourists and business travelers doesn’t mean the jobs have returned as well. Chains like Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt are offering daily room cleaning for additional fee. Guests are saying no, and that means fewer housekeepers are needed.

Then there are those with the means to retire sooner than expected.

Goldman Sachs estimates nearly1.5 million people retired since the pandemic hit. In large part they were able to because of the skyrocketing stock market. In August, the S&P 500 doubled in value from its pandemic low of 2,237 in March 2020

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