Thanks to technology, many workers began to work remotely during the pandemic. However, not all jobs offer this possibility.
This is the case for health professionals, supermarket workers and other essential workers, who risk their lives to serve the population. At the same time, many “non-essential” workers, who cannot work from home, are losing their jobs in sectors such as retail, tourism and hospitality.
A study entitled Who Can Work from Home in Ireland, done by ESRI, highlights some inequalities in remote work in the country, and discusses how the home office can prevent more Irish people from losing their jobs in the future.
Remote work in Ireland
Before the Covid-19 crisis, about 14% of Irish workers worked remotely. The rate is higher than the European average, being the 11th country on the continent with the most remote workers. The ranking is led by Sweden, where the rate of remote workers reaches 30%.
In Ireland, the sector in which remote work is most common is education, with 37% of employees working from home, followed by technology (36%) and finance (25%). At the end of the list are the retail (7%), transportation (7%) and hospitality (2%) sectors.
The data show that most essential workers earn low wages, and many of them are women and / or single parents, which makes it difficult to care for their children, since schools and daycare centers are closed.
In addition, the incidence of remote work is much lower among women, foreigners, young people (below 30) and professionals in lower positions, exposing a great inequality between employees in the same sector.
According to Paul Redmond, co-author of the study, it is necessary to increase the ability to work remotely in Ireland, especially among low-income workers, which would help the country to keep jobs and reduce the economic impact of the crisis.