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Brief Published: 15 Dec 2020

Diverse Employees Bear Brunt of Pandemic’s Career Impact


Recent research conducted by McKinsey & Company has revealed that Covid-19’s impact on Americans’ careers is disproportionately affecting people of colour, the LGBTQ community and women. We highlight key findings and ways brands can boost representation in their companies.

  • Race & Redundancy: McKinsey has found that, as of September 2020, 57% of white adult Americans were employed, compared to 53% of Black adults. This is compounded by the fact that 39% of roles held by Black employees are in danger of redundancy owing to the crisis.
    Brands need to examine the demographic breakdown of their employees and boost non-white representation in un-expendable roles to counter this trend. See Nurturing Black Talent for more.
    Homelife challenges are also affecting non-white people’s careers. Black women are three times more likely than a non-Black woman to have experienced the death of a loved one during the pandemic, giving rise to the need for culturally sensitive mental health support – like new app ­Ayana – in the workplace.
  • Spotlighting LGBTQ Struggles: People in the LGBTQ community are likewise under job stress, as during the crisis, they were 20% more likely to suffer from workplace-related mental health challenges, face 25% more workload increases and are 25% more likely to worry about receiving fair performance evaluation.
    The Covid-19 crisis has thrown existing workplace biases into sharp relief. Focusing on improving internal culture will help brands retain LGBTQ talent.
  • Woman’s Work: As we discussed in What Women Want, the pandemic is adversely affecting women’s careers. McKinsey’s findings validate this trend, with 12% of US women without children planning to downshift or leave their careers since the outbreak, compared to 10% of men. This rises to 15% of mothers and 11% of fathers. 
    To prevent the exodus of women in the workplace, brands need to offer support via flexible working solutions and cultivating a culture which advocates a real work-life separation.