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Are Norwegians and Swedes happy with their employers during the crisis?

Nearly 20 percent of those who have been laid off say they have experienced discrimination in the layoff process.

13.05.2020

Nearly 700 people from Norway and Sweden participated in the corona survey. Overall, Norwegian respondents were happier than Swedish respondents on how their employers have treated them during the Corona crisis.

There was a difference in responses from men and women, however, the data clearly shows that in difficult times, there is an unsaturated need for information. As an employer you can almost never inform too much, especially what this means for me (i.e what this means for the individual employee). Small gestures like a phone call, an office chair make a big difference.

Below we dive deeper into the data we received from the 700 respondents from Norway and Sweden:

Layoffs

  • 13% of those surveyed have lost their job, either temporarily or permanently.
    • 19% of those said they felt discriminated against in the process
    • Women: felt discriminated against due to gender
    • Men: felt discriminated against due to age

Home office

  • 86% of those surveyed have been working from home.
    • Half of those working from home say they are less efficient at home
    • Men and women answered similarly/no difference in the answers from men and women.
    • No significant difference between who has the most responsibilities at home, but a tendency towards women more often saying her job is down prioritized compared to her partner, and that they the workload is divided less equal at home after corona.
    • Women: 16% say their job is down prioritized for their partner.
    • Men:  6%say their job is down prioritized for their partner.
    • In the same group, 23% of women and 12% of men say they are less equal after corona.

Read more: Are you considering your unconcious bias when letting employees go?

Communication from employers

  • 34% of all respondents said that the criteria for temporary leave had not been communicated.
  • Women: 80% are happy with how their employers have dealt with corona
    • 20% said they were not given sufficient information, that temporary leaves were not communicated well, and that they were unhappy with the measures their employer had implemented.
  • Men: 90% of men are happy with how the employer has dealt with corona
    • Only 4% of men said the same
  • Swedish respondents: Wish their leader had shown more compassion and empathy, which is not something we see Norwegian employees say.
    • Those employees who are happy, underline they were given good information, that the employer took extra measures to facilitate home office (had desks/chairs/screens driven home to them), or sent them small surprises home (for example easter eggs).

Discussion

Overall, 700 people from both Norway and Sweden does not give us enough data to make statistically significant data, but we can still take some learnings from the numbers we have.

  • 13% of respondents had lost their job, which is about the same as in the population.
  • 1 in 5 said they experienced discrimination. We do not know if this is because they actually were discriminated against, or because the termination was not done well from the employer. Or maybe a combination. But either way, this means that employers can communicate better when having to do temporary terminations. This is also underlined in that 1 in 3 say that criteria for temporary leave have not been communicated. Those who feel discriminated should contact LDO for further assistance.
  • 1 in 3 say the termination was not necessary for the company to survive. Again, this is the respondent’s subjective feeling, and we can’t say if it is true or not. We have heard several stories of companies misusing temporary leave, or reducing employees jobs while continuing to pay high management salaries. So it might indicate misuse of temporary leave. Some might also be frustrated employees, which again points towards better communication of the termination and why it is necessary.
  • We find a tendency towards women taking on a larger caring burden at home. This finding is not significant, but we assume it would have been with a higher power (more respondents). There are international studies that have identified the same tendency. Also Curt Rice suggested that women should return to the office sooner than men, as research suggests that women submit fewer scientific papers after corona:  https://forskning.no/arbeid-ntb-om-forskning/oslomet-rektoren-vil-hente-kvinnene-tilbake-fra-hjemmekontorene-forst/1680361.
  • We find that women are significantly less happy with how their employer has dealt with corona; information, communication, and measures. We do not know why we see this difference between men and women; either the employer has communicated measures differently towards women or men, or it has been received differently. We might speculate that if women have had more responsibility for kids as schools and kindergartens have been closed, the situation has been more stressful for women. This might be supported by the fact that we see a significant difference between genders in Norway, but not in Sweden (where schools and kindergartens have not been closed).

Read more: How to become a change-maker at your workplace

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