Is There a Bias Against Hiring Returning Women in Asia?

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.

For instance in Malaysia, 56% of the women surveyed have taken a career break at some point in their lives while 52% of hiring managers in Malaysia have not employed any returning women in the past year, according to the latest whitepaper titled “Understanding Employers’ Attitudes Towards Women Returning To Work” from specialist professional recruitment firm Robert Walters.

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 views, 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.

“Returning women often have vast experience and bring with them a certain maturity about their role,” says Sally Raj, Managing Director, Robert Walters Malaysia. “This talent pool can serve as a viable solution to the skills and gender gap prevalent in the workplace today. This is especially relevant for the technology sector, which faces severe skill shortages, but is under represented by women professionals.”

Across Asia, 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.


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