Women and young mothers in the Philippines find themselves leaving their jobs because of the lack of adequate parent-friendly working arrangements, subpar employee benefits, and poor work-life balance, according to Monster.com’s annual #SheMakesItWork survey.
Additionally, more than 50 percent of mothers surveyed said they believe their career has been hindered or “somewhat” affected by their decision to have children. Perhaps contributing to this are levels of discrimination in the workplace, where 21 percent of women said they have been labeled as “too emotional” and 19 percent don’t feel like they are taken seriously in the workplace. Beyond this, 18 percent of women said they had been questioned about their desire or plans to have children during job interviews.
The study, which surveyed over 2,600 respondents across the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia aimed to identify challenges women and mothers face in the workplace, in line with Mother’s Day.
It also aimed to raise attention to these issues for employers, who might want to consider more family-friendly arrangements to aid in increasing retention and lowering overall attrition of the female workforce.
A lack of flexible working arrangements (32 percent) and struggling to balance demands from clients and colleagues as well as family life (58 percent) were some of the answers provided by working women and new mothers when asked about challenges faced at work.
New mothers felt anxious about leaving their infants at home, with only a minority of respondents reporting that their companies offered benefits such as medical benefits and compensation (28 percent), adjusted work schedules (28 percent), lactation rooms at the workplace (9 percent) and child day care centers at work (5 percent).
To combat this, respondents suggested solutions such as flexible work arrangements tailored to the mothers’ needs (37 percent), efficient communication with mothers about leave policies (17 percent), and a transition period consisting of reduced workload (16 percent).
However, the majority of respondents were happily able to utilize flexible working hours with their current employers (61 percent), although this did not include working from home options, with 44 percent unable to do so.
“Although respondents in the Philippines had the highest number of respondents able to utilize flexible working options in Southeast Asia, there is still room for improvement to better support and manage the workloads for working mothers. This is reflected by the fact that over 50 percent of working Filipina women surveyed feel that they miss out on crucial career milestones after having children,” said Abhijeet Mukherjee, chief executive of Monster.com in Asia-Pacific and the Gulf.
“Women are an integral component of the Philippines’ working population and many either choose or need to work to support their families. If companies make an effort to build an inclusive culture which supports women and working mothers, they will see a marked improvement in their retention rates,” he said.
Monster Philippines is launching its annual #SheMakesItWork campaign to raise greater awareness of the issues women across Southeast Asia face at work.