The poor, the young and the women – they are the worst affected when it comes to assessing the impact of remote work, this new IMF paper suggests.
Overall, workers in food and accommodation, and wholesale and retail trade, are the hardest hit for having the least “teleworkable” jobs at all. That means more than 20 million people in our sample who work in these sectors are at the highest risk of losing their jobs. Yet some are more vulnerable than others:
Young workers and those without university education are significantly less likely to work remotely. This higher risk is consistent with the age profiles of workers in the sectors hardest hit by lockdowns and social distancing policies. Worryingly, this suggests that the crisis could amplify intergenerational inequality.
Women could be particularly hit hard, threatening to undo some of the gains in gender equality made in recent decades. This is because women are disproportionately concentrated in the hardest-hit sectors like food service and accommodation. In addition, women carry a heavier burden of child care and domestic chores, while market provision of these services has been disrupted.
Part-time workers and employees of small and medium-sized firms face greater risk of job loss. Workers in part-time work are often the first to be let go when economic conditions deteriorate, and the last to be hired when conditions improve. They are also less likely to have access to health care and the formal insurance channels that can help them weather the crisis. In developing economies, in particular, part-time workers and those in informal work face a dramatically higher risk of falling into poverty.