Untapped working mother talent pool could help alleviate Hong Kong's labour shortage

New survey shows HKSAR behind Mainland China and Taiwan when it comes to tapping the potential of working mothers
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Working Mothers

Human resources


March 7, 2014 - PRLog -- Study also reveals a surprising consensus that flexible working is key to keeping valuable returning mums in the workforce

Hong Kong – Despite an ongoing labour shortage, Hong Kong companies are ignoring a tremendous talent pool – namely working mothers – according to new research from the flexible workspace provider, Regus. Only 79% of Hong Kong survey respondents felt that companies which refuse to hire women returning from maternity leave are missing out on a valuable employee pool.

Hong Kong lagged behind Mainland China, where 80% of respondents felt that failing to tap the potential of mothers returning to work was a major mistake, and Taiwan, where fully 88% of respondents felt that way. The survey, canvassed the views of over 19,000 business owners and senior managers in 98 countries.

“With reports highlighting that the non-participation of women in the economy is costing as much as 27% of the per capita GDP in some countries,[1] and that companies with more women on the board are more profitable,[2] it is high time that businesses address the issue of how to adapt working practices to better suit working mothers," said John Henderson, Chief Financial Officer, Regus Asia-Pacific.

The survey also revealed that, in Hong Kong, the most effective measure to incentivise mothers to rejoin the workforce was the adoption of flexible working hours (90%). This was well ahead of Mainland China (80%) and Taiwan (81%) and the global average (85%). Some 62% of Hong Kong respondents also believed that option of working at a location closer to home was critical to helping mothers return to the workforce.

Fully 49% of respondents believed that offering part-time roles would also be an attractive proposition for returning mothers. Other popular incentives included the use of on-site or nearby crèche facilities (23%) and the flexibility to choose video conferencing over travel (22%).

The study also yielded the following interesting findings:

74% of Hong Kong respondents reported that they have at least one woman on the board of their company, which is much higher than the global average (65%) and Taiwan (68%), but slightly lower than China (75%)
56% of Hong Kong respondents reported that more women are asking to work remotely when they return to the workforce compared to China (47%), Taiwan (62%) and global markets (60%)

“Businesses should not hesitate to attribute value to working mothers. They should also recognise that when women return after maternity leave, they often find that juggling professional and personal responsibilities can be very demanding, if not impossible. It is not surprising, therefore, that more and more mothers are asking for flexible working. Whether it’s flexible-hours, the opportunity to work closer to home or to their families at least some of the time, or the option to choose video conferencing over business travel, these incentives are key to enticing more women back into employment and driving the workplace into the future,” said Henderson.

[1] IMF, Women, Work and the Economy, September 2013

[2] The Financial Times, Research shows profitable companies have more women on the board, 25 July 2013

About Regus

Regus is the global workplace provider.

Its network of more than 1,800 business centres in 100 countries provides convenient, high-quality, fully serviced spaces for people to work, whether for a few minutes or a few years. Companies like Google, Toshiba and GlaxoSmithKline choose Regus so that they can work flexibly and make their businesses more successful.

The key to flexible working is convenience and so Regus is opening wherever its 1.5 million members want support - city centres, suburban districts, shopping centres and retail outlets, railway stations, motorway service stations and even community centres.

Founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1989, Regus is based in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange.

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