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News » Flexible work preferred by Southeast Asian moms – Milieu Insight report

Flexible work preferred by Southeast Asian moms – Milieu Insight report

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE — A recent study by Singapore-based think tank Milieu Insight has revealed that working mothers in Southeast Asia prefer flexible and remote work arrangements to help achieve a better work-life balance

The survey, which involved 3,000 working mothers from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand, was conducted from April 2 to 12. 

It found that 68% of working mothers across Southeast Asia believe that remote work and flexible arrangements would enhance their work-life balance and career growth opportunities. This sentiment was particularly strong in Singapore (75%) and the Philippines (77%).

“While women have contributed to Southeast Asia’s growth, their share of managerial positions remains below parity,” said Juda Kanaprach, co-founder and CCO of Milieu Insight.

“Our study highlights the pressing challenges by working Southeast Asian women today, including the delicate balance between work and family commitments, self-care amidst hectic schedules, and the burden of guilt when [prioritizing] professional responsibilities.”

The report noted that 65% of the respondents shoulder “significant household responsibilities,” making flexible work setups even more desirable.

Navigating work-life balance

“Milieu Insight research suggests that with inclusivity, flexibility, and support, workplaces can create a nurturing environment where women could excel in their professional roles while fulfilling their duties as mothers,” the report stated.

While the challenges of balancing work and family commitments are evident, many working mothers have adopted innovative time management techniques. The study found that 55% of working mothers in Southeast Asia currently employ such strategies.

Some respondents expressed confidence in their ability to manage both effectively. However, others acknowledged the difficulties posed by their current work setups.

“It’s heartening to know that working mothers in Asia employ various strategies to navigate the complexities of their personal and professional lives. As we celebrate the pivotal role of mothers in our society this Mother’s Day, let us acknowledge and address their strength and sacrifices,” Kanaprach added.

Hybrid, remote work boost women’s workforce return in UK, U.S.

In a study based on official UK data, Public First revealed that 58.7% of women in the workforce were fully employed in 2023, from 56.5% in 2019.

The surge has been more apparent in sectors implementing hybrid work, such as finance and insurance (75% to 83%), and information and communication (79% to 83%).

Mothers experienced an even more significant uptick in full-time employment, with a rise of over 10 percentage points in finance and IT sectors.

In the U.S., women’s labor force participation has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, reaching 73% by the end of 2023, up from 70% in 2020.

Countries like Australia, India, Japan, and the European Union are leading the charge in adopting flexible working schedules and increasing gig and freelance opportunities. This has helped narrow the gender labor force gap and added an estimated $1.5 trillion to global income.

Read more here.

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