A survey conducted by Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp) found that 90 per cent of organisations believe that Work-Life Practices are key to addressing workforce needs of the future. 80 per cent of the organisations surveyed also agree that work-life balance contributed to improved productivity. Thus, improving employee well-being, increasing employee productivity and enhancing talent retention are the top reasons firms offer WLPs.

However, the survey also found that the level of adoption is lacking when it comes to WLPs such as extended maternity leave which involves a broader reach, additional capital outlay and a certain amount of coordination.

Commenting on the survey findings, Shareen Shariza Dato’ Abdul Ghani, Chief Executive Officer of TalentCorp said employers also benefit from better talent retention, as top employees going through new phases in life (such as starting a family) are happy to stay in companies that choose to adapt to their evolving circumstances. This reduces the need to recruit and train new employees. She added that more women in the workforce could potentially increase Malaysia’s GDP by between RM6 billion and RM9 billion. “While there are a number of Malaysian employers already offering extended maternity leave – including Maybank, IBM, Sunway, PwC, and Nestlé Malaysia to name a few – it would be wonderful to see more companies make greater efforts to retain and facilitate the return of more talented women to the workforce,” she added.

The survey was carried out in support of the Government’s announcement that 2018 is the year of Women Empowerment as a core area of TalentCorp’s work is Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) in the workplace. Women make up half the nation’s population and account for over 55 per cent of enrolment in local universities. Malaysian women show a labour force participation rate of just over 54 per cent, however, they tend to exit the workforce in their late 20s to early 30s, usually due to family commitments.

Shareen said today, women are recognised as a pivotal resource to drive economic growth and as highlighted in the 2018 Budget announcement, the implementation of 90-day paid maternity leave in the private sector is a step in the right direction in providing Malaysian women support for their maternal needs as well as optimum work-life balance.

The Life At Work Survey was carried out with over 360 employers to measure perceptions on Work-Life Practices (WLP) in Malaysia. Examples of WLP include providing Flexible Work Arrangements, Family Care Leave, Extended Maternity Leave, Nursing Rooms, and Childcare Centres.