From homemaker to breadwinner

The presence of mothers in the workplace is a phenomenon that seems to be gaining traction in Singaporean society. But what about out-of-touch women who want to get back into the workforce and re-shape their careers—do they stand a chance?

Women and the workforce

Going from homemaker to breadwinner: A viable option for out-of-touch mothers?

If anything, women are experts at wearing many hats. Whether a mother, nurturer, care-giver, confidante or CEO, her aura is the most resilient mankind has ever known. Representing a breed nothing short of winners, a true lady shines in adversity and laughs in the face a good challenge.

Women have for years now, mastered the art of juggling between work and home, and so, are able to balance both roles quite efficiently. All this is nice and good, but what about those who have been homemakers for years and wish to re-enter the workforce?

The Labour Force Survey conducted in June 2012, showed that many of the 336,000 economically inactive women aged 25 to 64 intended to seek employment within the next two years. This finding reflects that currently unemployed Singaporean women are motivated to pick up on their careers once again and get back in the game—while ambitious, the trend is here to stay.

RELATED: How to work and still be a good mum

Returning to work after 40

Granted, home-makers make for excellent protectors and household managers, but the million dollar question remains: Can the mature but out-of-touch mum return to being an employee and thrive and, what about women above 40?

Well, at least two industry experts think so. Ms Tan Gek Khim, Senior Director at Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) shares: “Of course it is possible!”

She explains that for those serious about going back to work, a strong support system exists for the primary purpose of grooming those in question for the journey ahead. MDIS understands that for mothers caught in this transition, the process requires work.

Hence, the organisation offers career advice and counselling for women across all ages, keen to take up new courses or acquire the right skills to return to the workplace. Also, it conducts classes at convenient locations such as the Dhoby Ghaut and Queenstown MRT stations. Better yet, participating students can choose the course periods that fit them best.

RELATED: 10 stress buster tips for working moms

Training for the task

According to Ms Tan, the first thing to address is overcoming self-doubt and personal fears.  Given the rapid changes in technology and the economy, it is only natural for one in this predicament to feel intimidated. It is therefore important to receive the proper training which includes an upgrade of skills before returning to the workforce.

“Women over 40 who wish to return to the workforce can check out our more than 100 programmes which cater to all levels of female employment, ranging from operational staff and junior executives to managerial and management levels. Our lecturers willingly assist students in class and over emails,” she adds.

The outfit further caters to the cause by providing targeted corporate training courses surrounding topics such as Creativity and Innovation, Personal Effectiveness and Productivity, and Emotional Intelligence—these reinforce the purpose of helping women to return to work.

MDIS’ Ms Tan notes: “We also liaise with various women groups and employers, who then aid with the process of locating suitable jobs for this group of eager women. This is the one of the core functions of our in-house Career Assistance unit.”

RELATED: 200 new childcare centres in Singapore

We hope this article on women going from unemployed mother to working professional has empowered you to pick up the baton once again and get back into the race.

Click here for Part II: Juggling work and family (featuring expert opinions from Ms Laura Hwang, President of Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations).