Missed career opportunities, salary discrimination, and the desire for more parental leave… quite a few Singapore’s women are still wrestling between work and family – and Singaporean men know it, a new survey has shown ahead of the coming Mother’s Day.
The survey, conducted by Monster.com, involves more than 2,000 professionals across Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines to understand the challenges that both men and women face at work, particularly with regards to parental leave and work-life balance.
Overall, Singaporean women and mothers have numerous challenges in the workplace. Just 43% of women say they have flexibility at work, with 76% requesting for more options. More than half of local mothers (55%) also believe they have missed out on career opportunities due to having children, and when it comes to discrimination, 37% said they don’t earn as much as their peers.
A third (33%) also feel they are “treated differently” by their colleagues or managers. However, men are also taking note of the need for flexibility, parental support and having workplace policies that provide balance for everyone. Although more men say they have flexibility at work (55%) than female respondents, 71% are also desperate for more options. More than half (53%) of men struggle with work-life balance as their main workplace challenge – above both compensation (39%) and a heavy workload (32%).
Some 26% of men also feel their careers have suffered because of a decision to have children. And local dads struggle just like mums to make things work and are empathetic to their partner’s needs for time out and support.
Sixty-five percent of men say their partners help out the most around the house, and 33% say their partners also spend adequate time with their children. So it’s no surprise that 45% agree the women in their lives need more time to relax and unwind.
Returning to work after having children is also an emotional step for both men and women. While more than half of working mothers (55%) struggle with the difficulties of leaving their children at home to go to work, most men (41%) battle with the constant pressure to provide for their families.
“It is great to see more Singaporeans acknowledging that the bulk of parenting load falls upon women, while also realising the need for parental leave benefits isn’t just for women, but something that can – and should – be shared across both parents,” said Abhijeet Mukherjee, CEO of Monster.com – APAC and Gulf.
He said this realisation and push for change is the first step towards balanced families – the next is organisational support. Businesses and employers must understand that prioritising support for both mothers and fathers is key to full embrace successful flexible work arrangements which support their employees, facilitate a seamless transition, and ensure talent are able to perform to their best ability – both in the office and at home.
Monster is an India-based online career and recruitment service provider with a history of more than 20 years.