Risks working mothers take
This finding comes from a survey released last month by workspace solutions provider Regus, which found that the proportion of firms worldwide intending to hire more working mums has dropped by a fifth since the same period last year.
Only 36% of companies globally plan to hire working mums this year, compared to 44% last year. Of Singapore firms, 49% declared that they would hire working mums.
Ms Majella Slevin, manager at specialist recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, said that the “stigma” attached to working mums here is not as prevalent as other countries due to the excellent level of readily available and easily affordable child care centres.
37% of the employers worldwide, expressed concern about flexibility, 33% worried that working mums would leave after training to have another child, and 24% fretted about outdated skills.
The good news
However, Regus also had good news to share as well.
It found that globally, 72% of companies believe that ignoring part-time returning mothers results in them missing out on a significant and valuable part of the employment pool.
While employers may be reluctant to hire working mums, Mr Douglas Foo, founder and chief executive of Sakae Holdings, said that it was important to include family as part of the corporate culture.
Mr Foo related how an employee once wanted to resign to spend more time with her son, who was entering primary school.
“I didn’t want her to resign as she was an experienced employee. So I created a flexi-time arrangement so that she could look after her son and continue contributing to the company,” he said.
While companies can do more to encourage working mothers to continue working, these mums should also take steps to improve their employability. That includes:
1. Mums returning to work after an extended childcare break can do refresher courses to update their skills.
2. Those on maternity leave should keep in touch with the office to be aware of internal happenings, as well as to demonstrate their motivation.
3. Working mums should be able and ready to show any potential employer their childcare plans, to allay concerns that they may take excessive time off.
Source: The Straits Times