Uphill climb for women who return to workplace

Women returning to the work force are discriminated against by employers making it difficult for them to get employed, according to specialist professional recruitment consultancy firm Robert Walters.

In a whitepaper, Robert Walters said 44 percent of returning women in Asia took more than four months to secure a job.

One in five employers in Asia stated they were unsure whether hiring returning women will benefit the work place, while 24 percent stated the workforce will benefit “maybe a little” from such professionals.

“It is crucial for employers to recognize the value which returning women can contribute in the workplace. They usually come with relevant work experience and have a renewed energy to excel in their roles. Hiring managers should provide a customized induction program to help returning women reintegrate back into the workforce,” Eric Mary, Robert Walters Philippines country manager said.

However, if they are hired, some 48 percent of these women were penalized through low wages compared to their male counterparts.

Apart from low wages, around 38 percent said women returning to the work force face a lack of career advancement opportunities and 13 percent said they faced a lack of professional development opportunities.

In the Philippines around 68 percent of women who took career breaks were faced by these problems. They were forced to return to the work force for monetary considerations.

“Multiple reasons exist for taking a career break. Women often step off the career ladder for maternity leave, to take care of children or aging parents, or even study breaks,” the whitepaper stated.

In order to help women get back to the work force and make them attractive applicants, Robert Walters said they needed to be enrolled in induction programs.

However, around 54 percent of Asian women were not inducted upon reentering the work force. In the Philippines alone, the number is higher at 58 percent.

“Induction programs that can enable easier integration into organizations, teams and help provide training and support are paramount to ensuring a smooth transition back to the work force,” Robert Walters said.

The whitepaper has been created to assist employers in identifying and addressing any possible biases in recruitment and inclusion to ensure women are given the opportunity to regain entry into the work force after a career gap.

It also provides recommendations on what organizations can do to change current attitudes of how returning women are perceived and treated in the workplace.

The survey gathered the views of over 2,200 clients and female professionals across China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.




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