Press Release

New survey shows women are facing a deeper financial hit from the pandemic

The latest national lockdown is disproportionately affecting women living in the capital, according to a new survey published today.

The survey is the third Snapshot of Londoners by Centre for London, in partnership with Savanta. The previous survey was undertaken in September 2020.

The survey, which asked 1,500 Londoners how their daily lives have been affected by the pandemic, found that:

  • Women in London are working fewer hours than men during lockdowns. The number of women working 0-5 hours increased from 7 per cent in September 2020 to 15 per cent in January 2021. This might be because women are more likely to be working in industries which are furloughing staff and more likely to be caring for children. In January, 33 per cent of Londoners with children said they worked between 31-40 hours a week, down from 40 per cent in September.
  • This has led more women to see their income fall as a result of coronavirus: 48 per cent of women reported a drop in disposable income in January 2021 compared to 43 per cent in September 2020. There was no change for men (41 per cent).
  • Those with less disposable income are also less likely to be able to meet an unexpected expense. 47 per cent of London women said they would be able to meet an unexpected expense of £500 by themselves, compared to 51 per cent of men.
  • Finally, although over half of respondents are confident about finding employment if they left their current job, women are much less confident than men. Just 43 per cent of women think they could find a suitable job in three months compared to 54 per cent of men.

Though most Londoners have enough money to get by, some are still struggling. The pandemic continues to have a disproportionate effect on the finances of Black, Asian, and ethnic minority Londoners. 49 per cent said their disposable income had decreased because of coronavirus, compared to 42 per cent of White Londoners. There has also been an increase in the number of Londoners who would have to turn to loans to meet an unexpected expense (10 per cent).

Claire Harding, Research Director at Centre for London said:
“The latest lockdown has been hard for millions of Londoners: financially, practically and emotionally.

“It’s been hardest for people who were already struggling, especially low-income mothers of school age children – and the financial impact is often tougher in London where living costs are so high.

“It is vital that central government, City Hall and local authorities put equality at the centre of their plans for reopening and recovery.”

Oliver Worsfold, Director at Savanta said:
“The pandemic and associated economic disruption have exposed a lack of financial resilience amongst many groups of Londoners that predates coronavirus.

“Many are unable to respond to an unexpected expense of £500 and we have only seen the situation worsen in the last year.

“The lure of the big city for many is the chance to earn a greater salary than elsewhere in the country against an exciting backdrop of bustling streets, a vibrant nightlife and world-leading cultural institutions.

“With the city in lockdown, its culture ‘on pause’ and a substantial negative impact on Londoners’ finances, only 77 per cent think they are likely to still be living here in 12 months’ time”


Notes to Editors

  • Savanta is a market-leading research agency, informing and inspiring its clients to make better decisions.
  • The Snapshot of Londoners is a quarterly survey of Londoners, conducted in partnership with Savanta, looking at how Londoners’ perceptions and behaviours change over time. It explores Londoners’ life satisfaction, attitudes to their neighbourhoods and experiences of public services, social interactions and activities, spending and leisure habits.
  • Polling of 1,501 London residents was conducted by Savanta between 18 and 31 January 2021. Results were weighted to be representative of London’s population.