Women in Singapore Still Held Back by a Lack of Flexible Working Options
New mothers and working mothers in Singapore are still struggling to balance work and family commitments, as more than 50% remain unable to utilise flexible working arrangements in their current jobs.
According to an annual study by Monster.com, working mums are also not provided opportunities to work from home (68%). This lack of flexibility and support from employers is a key reason why 61% of female respondents will be looking for a new job in the next year.
The study, which surveyed over 2,600 respondents across Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines aimed to identify challenges women and working mothers face in the workplace, in line with Mother’s Day. It also aims to raise attention to these issues for employers, who might want to consider more family-friendly arrangements to aid in increasing retention and lowering overall attrition of the female workforce.
The findings emphasise the rampant biases faced by mothers and working women at large. 77% of women agreed that their decision to have children hampered their professional goals, with 34% stating they have been questioned about their plans to start a family during job interviews. 42% of respondents said their current employers do not practise gender equality based policies, which could leave the door open for discriminatory practices to flourish.
A whopping 90% of women consider work-life balance to be a crucial factor when finding a new job. Suggestions to facilitate a smooth transition for new mothers into the workplace include providing adjustable working hours in line with their domestic needs (43%), encouraging a family-friendly culture to counteract negative stereotypes (19%), and flexible timings during the first few months back at work (19%).
“Singapore has done plenty for professional women, but there remains considerable scope for improvement. In 2018, issues such as prejudice against mothers and the absence of conducive workplaces for women re-entering the workforce continue to be an uphill battle,” said Abhijeet Mukherjee CEO, Monster.com, APAC & Gulf.
“While various initiatives across Singapore are targeted towards promoting equality and eliminating discrimination in the workplace, there is a learning curve for businesses that might not be moving fast enough to retain many women who choose to have children. However, not doing so means businesses are potentially losing out on making the most from 50% of the workforce.”
In a bid to show support and encourage more mothers to rejoin the workforce, Monster Singapore is launching its annual #SheMakesItWork campaign to raise greater awareness of the issues women across Southeast Asia face at work.
View the official campaign video, featuring three women at various phases of motherhood who share their struggles and provide advice for all women facing a similar situation.