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Talent Corp Malaysia Bhd (TalentCorp) is looking to female workers to halt the country’s brain drain, by encouraging employers to adopt flexible working hours to make it easier for women to stay in, and return to, the workforce, according to The Sun Daily.
Johan Mahmood Merican, TalentCorp CEO, said: “Besides having low female labour participation, studies have shown that Malaysian women tend to leave the workforce in their 20s and never return, contrary to situations in developed countries where women tend to return in their 40s.”
The average female labour participation in the country is at 48%, the lowest in Southeast Asia. Singapore on the other hand has an average rate of 55%.
Mr Merican continued: "So when we looked at why women are leaving the workforce, not surprisingly, it is to raise a family. So, it's an issue of retention. In Malaysia, [female labour participation] falls off after [women reach their] 20s, but in developed countries while it falls off in the 20s they come back in the 40s. In Malaysia, you don't have that.”
He added that the issue of women leaving the workforce is as significant as the issue of Malaysians leaving the country. "So, we see it as another form of brain drain, which means besides trying to retain women in the workforce we are also looking at ways to make them return to the workforce," Mr Merican told SunBiz in an interview last month.
A survey carried out by TalentCorp found that almost all of the women questioned wanted to come back to the workforce, but cited prejudice among employers as the main reason for not doing so.
TalentCorp in cooperation with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development launched flexWorkLife.my in July 2013, a portal intended to create greater awareness of gender diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
The portal boasts a repository of best ideas and practices on flexible work arrangements and family-friendly facilities. It aims to build a network of employers and talents to optimise work-life integration, while maximising work efficiency and enhancing employee engagement. Employers can find on flexWorkLife.my a combination of best practices, case studies, and success stories on work-life integration.
The portal also has a section where employers post job opportunities with flexi-work arrangements. Employers can also apply online for tax incentive on training expenses incurred to retrain women who have returned to work after a career break.