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A Facebook survey of half a million people found the impact of COVID-19 on work was the biggest concern for Australians

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 21/10/2020 Cam Wilson
  • Facebook has surveyed its user base to find out how the pandemic has affected workers and small business.
  • According to their survey of Australians and other people in the region, both men and women are primarily concerned about how COVID-19 will affect their work.
  • And small businesses are feeling the pressure too. Australian businesses bucked a global trend by closing since July, linked to Melbourne's lockdown measures.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.

With 2.7 billion monthly active users, there are few things — if anything — that are used as widely as Facebook.

And the company has tapped into this resource to deliver reports on the pandemic's impact on two topics: business and gender.

The first report, the inaugural Survey on Gender Equality produced in collaboration with World Bank Group, UN Women, Ladysmith and EqualMeasures, spoke to half a million people in more than 200 countries.

And across 40,000 individuals from the East Asia and Pacific population, including Australia, they found that the biggest concern for both genders was how the pandemic was going to affect their work, with 38% of men and 35% women saying it was their main worry.

The biggest difference between the genders was about having enough food and supplies for family, with 31% women and 22% of men saying it was their main concern.

And while 83% of respondents from the region said that they believed men and women should have equal opportunities, the survey found that reported responsibilities still remained uneven.

Women were more likely to report spending time on chores like cleaning (72% of women compared to 44% of men), while men were twice as likely to report not doing any chores (15% of men vs 6.9 of women).

And men were twice as likely to say they made decisions large purchases (32% of men and 23% of women) and about urgent matters (35% of men vs 27% of women).

The second study was the fourth edition of Facebook's Global State of Small Business Report, produced in collaboration with the OECD and the World Bank.

After speaking to 25,000 business owners in August, 15% of small businesses were still closed.

This marked a 1% decrease since July — but that wasn't globally uniform. One of the largest increases in closure rates was in August, which grew by 6% — second only to Denmark with 7%.

Australian small businesses also saw one of the largest reductions in sale percentages over the period, decreasing by 13% since the previous report.

The report notes that Melbourne saw a strengthening of lockdown measures, gaining 9 points in the report's scale of COVID-19 restrictions called the 'Lockdown Stringency Index'.

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