What should a family-oriented woman look for in a job?

Most women in Singapore delay having children to avoid dilemma over family and work life. What then should you be looking for in a company?

According to the Department of Statistics Singapore, the birthrate of women in 2014 was 99,3000 with a mother’s mean age at first birth at 29 years. Fertility rates in Singapore remain low because women wish to avoid having a dilemma over their work life.

Ms Yeo Miu Ean, president of Women Empowered for Work and Mothering said that, “(Women) do not want to give their children the time or energy is that is left from work.”

So what if you’re a woman who wants to be able to strike a balance between your career and family? What are some of the things to look out for in your quest for a good work life before you decide to join an organisation?

1. Culture of trust in your work life

Being able to trust and consult one another is an absolute requirement. When there is trust, you will be able to feel safe with the people you work with. You’re likely to be more comfortable to ask questions, give constructive criticism, raise concerns or ask for help.

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Billie Williamson of Ernst & Young emphasises on the importance of trust within an organisation, “With trust, flexibility can work for anyone, because at the heart of it is the belief that people will get the job done and we don’t need to monitor when and where occurs.”

If you have hopes of becoming a mother later on, what you’ll need is a company that treats you fairly, that understands the importance of fostering a sense of community and places emphasis on work life and family balance. It should also be able to empathise with you as a new mother or parent.

Two more important things to look for in a company for a good work life... on the next page!

2. People-oriented management

What you should be looking for is a company that is big on teamwork. With the adoption of a people-oriented management style, you can expect an emphasis on company-employee relationships. This means that you’re more likely to be rewarded for your loyalty to the organisation and appreciated for your time, energy and effort. Your personal preference on being a family-oriented woman will be welcomed too.

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Take the Singapore Army for example. It remains conscious of its employees’ desires to start a family and offers substantial welfare benefits. One of its unique welfare benefits is its wide array of packages and programmes that are catered for a working mother; you can reap the benefits of the infrastructure that supports In-Service Working Mothers with Lactation & Nursing Rooms and SAF Child Development Centres. The former is available in the workplaces itself and is furnished with small refrigerators for the mothers’ breastmilk; while the latter provides centre options that are situated within or near workplaces.

3. Flexibility

Once you make the decision to become a mother, your priorities will naturally take a turn. The transformation from womanhood to motherhood is a metamorphosis more profound than any other you would experience.

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As beautiful as this discovery may be, many working mothers find themselves trapped in a cycle of guilt – feeling that they are bad mothers because they work and feeling that they are bad employees because they have a child. In order to prevent yourself from falling into this trap, you will need to ensure that a company is able to offer you to the flexibility to balance your family and work, if need be.

In its Triple-flexi Framework, the Singapore Army entitles mothers to flexible hours – choose from a range of starting and ending times, telework – work from home, and the Part-Time Employment Scheme (PTES) – work a minimum of 9 hours and a maximum of 34 hours.

At the end of it all, the job you apply for should grant you balance between work and family. You should be seeking purpose in what you do for a living and be conscious of how far it enables you to nurture your family the way you want to. Be a part of the fabric that defends your nation and your child’s generation.