How Asian employers feel about hiring women returning to work

With today’s career models evolving over time, it is becoming common for women to take career breaks for various reasons such as maternity leave, to care for their family or even further their studies.

According to the latest whitepaper titled “Understanding Employers’ Attitudes Towards Women Returning To Work” from specialist professional recruitment firm Robert Walters, 70% of the women surveyed in Vietnam have taken a career break at some point in their lives.

This 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 re-gain entry into the workforce after a career gap.

It also provides recommendations on what organisations can do to change the 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, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Concerns voiced by employers when considering whether to hire returning women include how these women might lack knowledge of the latest industry trends or will not be fully committed to their jobs.

Looking beyond these perceptions, 55% of hiring managers in Asia agreed that specific job experience or skills are the biggest benefits which returning women can bring to the workplace.

“When recruiting women returning to the workforce, hiring managers should view their career breaks as opportunities that enable women to broaden their perspectives,” comments Hoa Dang, Manager of Commerce Finance & Legal, Robert Walters Vietnam.

“They should focus instead on whether their career experiences and personality will be a fit with the company. Companies can also consider providing recruitment strategies and induction programmes targeted at returning women.”

The survey also highlighted that 44% of returning women in Asia took more than four months to secure a job; almost 40% of the female respondents shared that a recruitment firm had helped them to gain re-entry to the workforce.

Thirty-five percent of employers in Asia have offered less than 5% of returning women a more senior or even similar role in their company.

Sixty-four percent of hiring managers think induction is crucial in ensuring returning women are equipped to re-join the workforce.

Returning female professionals with the relevant experience could be part of the solution to the talent shortages faced by 88% of Southeast Asia employers.