75% of new mothers in Malaysia quit their jobs due to a lack of work flexibility – and employers should be worried

A lack of flexibility at work has been driving 75% of new mothers in Malaysia to quit their jobs and look for new ones.
The Straits Times

Three-quarters (75%) of new mothers in Malaysia have cited a lack of work flexibility as their top reason for leaving their jobs.

Other reasons included concerns about poor childcare while they are at work (60%) and having an unsupportive boss and work environment when it comes to balancing home and work life (55%).

These are the findings of an annual study conducted by recruitment portal Monster on 2,600 respondents across Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines which aimed to identify challenges women and working mothers face in the workplace.

It also aims to raise attention to these issues for employers who might want to consider more family-friendly arrangements to up retention and lowering overall attrition of the female workforce.

The study questioned working mums on their biggest worries when returning to work after having a child.

Some 55% of respondents said they struggle with the emotional process of leaving a newborn at home.

Nearly half (49%) said they only return to their jobs for financial reasons, while 47% worry about getting the right childcare in place to allow them to feel comfortable with returning to work.

In terms of their biggest challenges, respondents listed struggling to balance their duties at work and demands from home (53%), not being awarded the same career opportunities as men (38%) and concerns over perceptions by their colleagues and boss that affect their career progression (32%).

Obstacles that mothers feel they face in the course to a successful work-life balance.

Only 28% of those surveyed said their workplace offers some form of flexibility or adjusted workloads for working mothers.

In terms of facilities, only 12% said their workplaces have a dedicated lactation room and 10% said they do not have the option of a child day-care at work.

So, what do these mothers think is the solution?

Almost half (46%) said employers should instill some sort of flexible arrangements that are in line with mothers’ needs, while 20%  suggested that employers could consider a transition period when returning to work.

For example, this could come in the form of offering part-time hours for the first month or two back at work, found the study.

The suggestions that mothers have offered to improve their work-life.

CEO of Monster APAC and Gulf, Abhijeet Mukherjee said: “Globally, flexible working arrangements are becoming a normal part of employers’ offerings, in line with the needs of the modern workforce – but it seems like there is still some alignment that needs to happen between companies and employees in Malaysia.”

“Women in Malaysia clearly want to work, but they are not provided with a supportive environment or business infrastructure that allows them to both care for their families and contribute to the workplace.”

Perhaps the most surprising takeaway from the study was that 94% of women surveyed said they will be looking for a new job in the next 12 months.