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TalentCorp: Worrying trend of women exiting workforce in late 20s to 30s

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According to  Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp) chief executive officer Shareen Shariza Datuk Abdul Ghani, there is a worrying trend of women exiting the workforce in their late 20s to early 30s and not returning in their later years, The Star reported.

The chief executive officer noted that women – including singles – are exiting the workforce in their late 20s to early 30s, taking career breaks because of family commitments, like having to care for a family member, and for personal reasons.

Citing the 2013 TalentCorp-ACCA Retaining Women in the Work-force survey, Shareen Shariza said raising a family, the lack of work- life balance and wanting to care for a family member are the top three causes of women leaving the workforce.

“What’s alarming is that unlike other neighbouring countries, 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,” she added.

Shareen Shariza believes that promoting equitable practices and increasing women’s participation in the workforce is not only the right thing to do but it’s also a smart economic move.

“We launched the Career Comeback programme last year to facilitate and increase career opportunities for women returnees.

“We’re now matching résumés with potential employers,” she said.

To date, the programme has helped over 300 women find career opportunities with over 100 employers, including multinationals, she says, adding that inflexible working arrangements and the lack of appropriate infrastructure are the top reasons for women’s low participation rates in the workforce,  The Star reported.

“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 Shariza stressed.

Employers don’t prefer singles

Separately, the Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan spoke up to dispell the belief that employers prefer singles when hiring or promoting.

Employers recruit candidates based on their qualifications, skills, personality, attitude, and experience, he insisted.

“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.”

Photo / iStock

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