Aug 26, 2020 - 6:00am
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Women-owned small businesses have been more heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic than male-owned small businesses, and they are less likely to anticipate a strong recovery in the year ahead, new data show. The Special Report on Women-Owned Small Businesses During COVID-19 1 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also found that women-owned small businesses have less optimistic revenue, investment and hiring plans compared to male-owned small businesses.
Before the coronavirus pandemic began 67% of male-owned businesses ranked the overall health of their business as “good,” while fewer (60%) women-owned businesses said the same. But by July 2020, 62% of male-owned small businesses said their businesses was “good,” but just 47% (15 points less compared to male-owned) of female-owned businesses ranked the overall health of their business as “good.” This also represents a decline of 13 points for women-owned small businesses versus a small shift of only five points for male-owned businesses who see their businesses health as “good.”
Also, more male-owned businesses report increasing staffing in the past year, while female-owned businesses are less likely to have done so. Male-owned small businesses reporting an increase in staffing grew eight points since the start of the pandemic (from 17% in Q1 2020 to 25% in July), while female-owned small businesses reporting increases in staff remain statistically unchanged (from 18% in Q1 2020 reporting an increase in staff to 15% in July 2020, a difference of three points).
Female-owned small business owners also have less optimistic future business plans compared to male-owned small businesses. This trend is clear in investment, revenue projections, and staffing plans:
These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between July 9-16, 2020. For this survey, a sample of roughly 500 small business owners and operators age 18+ from the continental U.S. Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.
The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to the study, in drawing sample. Small businesses are defined in this study as companies with fewer than 500 employees that are not sole proprietorships. Ipsos used fixed sample targets, unique to this study, in drawing sample. This sample calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. small business population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 Statistics of U.S. Businesses dataset. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on firmographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on region, industry sector and size of business.\
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.0 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=500, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-6.5 percentage points).
Percentage breakdowns for region, employee size, and sector:
In Q1 2020, the survey was conducted via phone. Beginning in Q2 2020, the MetLife/U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index survey has been conducted via a monthly online survey, in place of the typical phone-based approach. This methodological shift is in response to anticipated lower response rates in dialing business locations as a result of mandated closures related to the COVID-19 outbreak. While significant changes in data points can largely be attributed to the recent economic environment, switching from a phone to online approach may have also generated a mode effect.