PETALING JAYA: The trend among Malaysian women in their late 20s to early 30s to leave the workforce for family commitments is worrying, Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp) chief executive officer Shareen Shariza Abdul Ghani said, The Star reported today.
Referring to the 2013 TalentCorp-ACCA Retaining Women in the Workforce survey, Shareen said the three main reasons cited for wanting to leave the workforce were to raise a family, the lack of work-life balance and wanting to care for a family member.
“What’s alarming is that once Malaysian women leave the workforce, they don’t typically return unlike women in other Asian countries like Japan and South Korea, where women tend to return to the workforce in their later years,” Shareen was quoted as saying by the daily.
She attributed the drop out rate and the overall lack of participation by women in the workforce to inflexible working arrangements and the lack of appropriate infrastructure.
“These are the top reasons for women’s low participation rates in the workforce.
“There are no two ways about it. An organisation seeking to be future-ready must embrace flexible work arrangements that not only maximise productivity and performance, but are also beneficial for women, men and young talent in general who value career flexibility.”
Shareen added that with women accounting for 63% of the student population in public universities according to official statistics from the 2013/14 academic year, it is only right that more effort be made to increase women’s participation in the workforce.
“It is not only the right thing to do but it’s also a smart economic move, as women also make up half the nation’s population.
“In an effort to promote more equitable practices, TalentCorp launched the Career Comeback programme last year to facilitate and increase career opportunities for women returnees. We’re now matching résumés with potential employers,” Shareen told The Star.
According to Shareen, the programme has so far helped more than 300 women find career opportunities with over 100 employers, including multinationals.
Meanwhile, denying there was any bias by employers towards men, or single people in general when it comes to making hires or promotion, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said marital status is a personal choice that’s unrelated to employment matters.
“Employers recruit candidates based on their qualifications, skills, personality, attitude, and experience.
“Being single or married has nothing to do with the position you hold in a company.
“To recruit based on a woman’s marital status would amount to gender and status discrimination. Employers won’t implement such a policy,” he said, according to The Star. -FMT