Hong Kong firms believe re-hiring mothers boosts productivity, survey finds

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 March, 2013, 9:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 March, 2013, 9:00am

Most Hong Kong companies believe they would be better off if their female staff returned to work after taking maternity leave, work space provider Regus found in a recent report.

The study, which surveyed 26,000 business people from 90 countries and released to coincide with Women's Day on Friday, said 63 per cent of companies worldwide agreed that hiring returning mothers would increase productivity.

About two-thirds of those surveyed said returning mothers could contribute valuable skills and experience to the domestic labour market.

“Globally, there is a strong case for greater inclusion of returning mothers into the workforce," said Hans Leijten, Regus’ vice-president for East Asia. “But due to particular circumstances such as the demands of family life, it is sometimes very difficult for them to come back.”

According to a 2011 study by the Hong Kong Women’s Commission, two in five women in the city leave the workforce citing “engagement in household duties” as their main reason.

Leijten said research shows more mothers returning to work had economic benefits for a country or city including, sustained growth, bridging the skills gap and fighting poverty.

Most Hong Kong companies also believe measures such as flexibility, near-site crèche facilities and video-conferencing could help mediate inconveniences working mothers face and increase the number of returning mothers in the workforce.

“We often urge companies to spread offices around town and maintain city-wide or nation-wide networks to make commuting easier,” Leijten added.

He also said Hong Kong had many public holidays but too few private holidays. Increasing the latter would also be a solution, he said.