gender

Men, women worry about unemployment differently

May 11, 2012 at 7:59 AM ET

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Men expect to find work quicker if they lose their jobs, but feel less secure in their jobs than women.

Most everyone is worried about the job market in general, and with good reason. The unemployment rate has been higher than average for years, and improvements have been painfully slow.

But it turns out, the specifics of what they're worried about differ for men and women.

A new survey from Randstad finds that men are more likely than women to say the economy has had a negative effect on their career plans. Fifty-one percent of men feel that way, compared to 41 percent of women.

Men also are more likely to say they feel left behind in their careers, with 39 percent of men complaining that the economy had that effect compared to 31 percent of women. Men are also slightly more likely to be extremely worried about losing their jobs.

But the Randstad survey of about 3,000 full-time workers, which was conducted in February, finds that women are more jittery about what would happen if they actually did lose their jobs.

Women are slightly more likely than men to say they don’t think they could find a new job right away that they would want to accept.

In addition, women expect that it would take them longer to find a new job. The average amount of time women said they think it would take to find a new job is 5.4 months, compared to 4.7 months for men.

Kate Gallagher Robbins, senior policy analyst with the National Women's Law Center, said women may be more worried about finding a new job because they are seeing other women lose good-paying jobs in fields such as the public sector, and either strggling to find new work at all or taking a job that pays less.

"They’re really not hearing may good stories about women’s jobs right now," Robbins said.

On the other hand, men -- and particularly young men -- may feel particularly hard hit because the early part of the recession was so hard on them, she noted.

During the recession, men were losing jobs at such a fast pace that some dubbed it a “mancession.” But as the economy officially went into recovery, meaning it was slowly growing again, men started seeing job gains at a much faster clip than women. Only recently have things started to even out. 

The unemployment rate for men was 8.2 percent in April, down from a high of 11.2 percent in late 2009. For women, the unemployment rate was 8 percent in April, down from a high of 9 percent in late 2010.

It turns out there are other ways in which men and women react differently to work stress.

A separate study from the University of Calgary, which was also recently released, found that high levels of job strain increased the risk of depression in full-time male workers, but not of full-time female workers.

On the other hand, women who felt unappreciated in their jobs had a higher risk for depression, while the researchers didn’t see the same correlation for men.

The results were first reported by MyHealthNewsDaily.

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