The impact of unemployment on single parents






August 2021 – September 2022

Grant Awarded



Project summary

Research to understand the impact of job-loss on single parents and examine ways to help them back into sustainable employment.


Just before the pandemic, a record number of single parents were in work (69%). However, single parent households (9 out of 10 are women) were less financially secure than mothers in coupled households, who earn almost twice as much per week as single mothers.

Since summer 2020 single parents’ financial disadvantage has increased. The Standard Life Foundation Financial Tracker shows single parents were much more likely to have been economically impacted by the pandemic. Single parents are also more likely to have been furloughed, 30% compared with 21% of couple parents, reflecting their sole caring responsibilities and the sectors in which they work.

Project overview

Gingerbread will work with the Institute for Employment Studies to improve the depth of knowledge about how the pandemic has impacted single parent employment. This will include 45 qualitative interviews at two intervals. The first interview will explore single parents’ work histories, what led them to lose their jobs or hours, plans to re-enter work, and any involvement in back-to-work support. Follow up interviews will will explore single parents’ longer-term attempts to re-enter work, the factors that aided this process or caused difficulties, and their experience of back-to-work support.

They will aim to influence policy change so that single parents can move into sustainable employment or into training to access new industries and areas of work. Throughout the project, they will empower single parents to campaign for change.


The impact of unemployment on single parents - March 2022