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Career Comeback Fair for women returns for the third year offering over 200 jobs

KUALA LUMPUR, 24 August 2016 – Almost 300 job-seeking women, including mothers who quit work to raise families, had a head start in relaunching their careers when they visited the Career Comeback Networking & Job Fair organised by Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp) today at Connection@Nexus, Bangsar South. 

More than 20 employers offering over 200 full-time and flexible job opportunities took part in the career fair. They are Aegis, Alliance Bank, AmBank, AXA, BDO, Celcom, Dell, DKSH, Felda, First Solar, Gamuda, Group M, GSK, Infineon, Kannal Outsourcing, KPMG, Nielsen, PwC, Schlumberger, Shell, Scope International, Taylor’s Education Group, TM and UEM. 

Although Malaysia has done well in achieving gender parity in education, with 63 percent of public university enrolments being women, a significant number of them tend to drop off the workforce due to personal or family commitments. And where countries like Korea and Japan have a ‘double peak pattern’ where women who may have earlier left the workforce but re-join when they are able to, Malaysia in contrast has a ‘single peak pattern’ where those who leave do not return.

“Based on our study, women leave the workforce mainly due to family commitments. If we let this carry on, especially when we have more women graduates entering the workforce, Malaysia will lose a large talent pool and face a talent crunch. That is why TalentCorp has been working with Malaysia’s top employers to implement flexible work arrangements (FWA), family-friendly facilities and work-life benefits as well as on job-matching platforms such as this Career Comeback Fair. It makes good business sense to put in place the necessary support for women talent to retain valuable human capital,” said Shareen Shariza Dato’ Abdul Ghani, CEO of TalentCorp.

The career fair is part of the national Career Comeback programme run by TalentCorp which also offers employers grants – namely, the Resourcing Grant and the Retention Grant – to retain and recruit women on career breaks. The Resourcing Grant is available for companies that have implemented or enhanced a recruitment program targeted at women returnees, and the grant will be used to co-fund 75% of the recruitment costs incurred. The Retention Grant, however, is for companies that have successfully hired and retained women returnees for more than six months, with a grant equivalent to one month of the returnees’ salary.

Over 250 women returned to the workforce in 2015 under the Career Comeback programme, bringing with them over RM15 million cumulative income. Out of this figure, the majority found employment in the ICT/Business Services, Electrical & Electronics and Education sectors and, on average, managed to secure a middle management position and a monthly salary of RM4,700. 

This year’s career fair saw the participation of employers from a range of key sectors, from Global Business Services (GBS) and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) to Construction and Electrical & Electronics (E&E). One such employer was UEM Group Berhad, who believe that women are a driving force of the economy. “Malaysian employers should play a more active role in promoting women on career breaks to return to the workforce. Those on career breaks may need to be upscaled but they nevertheless represent a pool of talented professionals to be leveraged on, especially at a time when most of us cite a lack of talent as hampering business growth,” said Norlida Azmi, Group Chief Human Capital Officer of UEM Group. 

The event was supported by the Corporate Development Centre (CDC) who led CV clinics offering advice and suggestions on updating a CV following a career break. Participants also had the opportunity to network with HR experts and learn from women who have successfully returned to the workforce. 

One of the returnees who secured a job through TalentCorp’s Career Comeback Fair last year, Chua Seow Swang shared her experiences with the fair’s participants. “You need to set the right expectations with potential employers and take your time exploring the right job for your needs. You can have better work-life integration if both you and your employer’s expectations are in sync,” advised Chua, who is currently a Learning and Development Manager at PwC Malaysia.

The Career Comeback programme is part of the Government’s efforts to increase the country’s Female Labour Participation Rate (FLPR) to 59 percent by 2020 through attracting and retaining highly qualified women in the workforce. Malaysia’s FLPR currently stands at 54.1 percent, a 7.3 percent increase since 2010 which has resulted in an additional 750,000 women entering the workforce. This is estimated to have contributed an additional 0.3 percentage points to GDP growth per annum

The Government has also introduced various incentives to encourage employers to attract and retain women in the workforce such as tax incentives for introducing FWA, training for women who have returned to work after career breaks, and provision of childcare centre in the workplace. In addition, employers who hire women who have been on career breaks for more than six months are eligible for the Career Comeback grants – the Resourcing Grant and the Retention Grant – as announced in Budget 2015. 

For more information on these initiatives and incentives, visit flexWorkLife.my.

TalentCorp-ACCA Women in the Workforce Survey (2013) 
Estimation by TalentCorp Research Analysis based on the World Bank’s Malaysia Economic Monitor 2012

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