Having equal representation in Singapore’s workforces is a big deal for both our country and citizens alike.
According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, having more women in our workforce can mean a net growth of $26bn to our gross national product (GDP).
The report also showed that companies that commit to having a balanced gender ratio seem to do better, with such companies boasting a 21% chance of higher profitability. As such, companies in Singapore have been adapting to find actionable ways to support female employees and women looking to return to the workforce.
For example, Procter & Gamble runs gender-neutral mentorships for female employees in Singapore, according to CNA Lifestyle. This also helps to remove unspoken bias and allows their female employees to progress further in their careers with the aid of both male and female mentorship.
What job perks are Singapore companies offering female employees?
Other employers, such as KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, provide female employees leave benefits such as maternity leave of 16 weeks, maternity medical benefits, and child adoption leave of 4 weeks.
Elsewhere, Hewlett Packard Enterprise runs programmes for working mothers returning to work after maternity leave, and encourages employees to leave the office three hours early for one Friday a month.
In June 2022, AIA also launched a new employment scheme for financial sales advisory positions, shifting from their traditionally commission-based pay. Instead, they provide a base salary ranging from $2,700 to $8000 a month, quarterly performance-based bonuses, on top of Central Provident Fund Contributions, annual leave and medical benefits. This is aimed to attract stay-at-home parents and women who want to return to the workforce, according to a report by the Straits Times.
For Breadtalk Group, their goal is to constantly build a better employee experience. Despite being in the food and beverage (F&B) industry, they achieved a relatively low annualized staff attrition rate of 35% in 2019, compared to the national average of 52.8% that year.
Famously in 2018, the large local enterprise (LLE) also spent $70,000 to convert an Orchard Road apartment near its Paragon and Wisma Atria into a staff lounge for its Din Tai Fung employees to nap and unwind between shifts.
Matthew Quek, the general manager for Din Tai Fung’s restaurant division, told Workipedia by MyCareersFuture recently: “ We have many policies that are flexible for our part-time female employees. Perhaps they’re caregivers and need to attend to their families, so we exercise flexibility, with staggered worktimes, as long as they can get their work duties done.“
“We’re also exploring hybrid working models that allow employees to mix up working from home and the office too.”
He was speaking at Workforce Singapore’s recent job fair at Heartbeat@Bedok, where the new “herCareer” initiative was launched, bringing programmes and information for women, and ensuring they can be matched with the right jobs to meet their personal and professional needs.
Matthew also shared thoughts on the event, saying: “I think this event was pretty meaningful, to help women to return to the workforce with new skills and jobs, and Breadtalk Group is very happy to be part of such job fairs to find suitable staff for our positions.”
“There are equal opportunities for everyone- it doesn’t matter where you come from, what qualifications you have- we’ve got many positions with career progression available for those with an open mind and open heart!”
What’s the work culture for women like at Breadtalk Group and other Singaporean companies?
Culture is also important. Do the companies practice what they preach when it comes to equal opportunities, as well as embrace women who are returning to the workforce after career breaks?
In the case of the Breadtalk Group, yes, Juliette Lim, the head of human resources at the company affirms.
“We’ve tried to create an environment that is encouraging for Back-To-Work Women, where it’s easy for our colleagues to resume work, even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the aim is to give them a flawless transition back to the workforce.”
For Emptyspace Media, a Singaporean digital marketing and sales agency, the answer is clear- it makes perfect sense to set a culture that is welcoming of women, given the bottom-line benefits.
Speaking to Workipedia by MyCareersFuture at the same job fair, Bryan Ng, the company’s chief executive officer concluded: “Women who return to the workforce contribute greatly to our industries and economies, and companies like Emptyspace.
“In fact, we do find our female consultants have a higher sales closure rate, with our customers more responsive to them than their male colleagues!”