Photo caption (above): Launch of flexWorkLife.my which aims to build a network of employers and talents to optimise work-life integration.
A key focus for TalentCorp in 2014 was on developing and implementing workplace initiatives that responded to changing talent needs and workplace requirements.
These initiatives are aimed at guiding and encouraging employers to implement parent-friendly worklife practices that promote flexible work arrangements (FWA), encourage workforce diversity and support upskilling of their talents.
Advancing women in the workforce
“I would like to encourage Malaysian employers to adopt some of these best practices so that we can retain more women in the workforce,” – Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, Minister of Women, Family and Community Development
TalentCorp partners leading employers to create a network to optimise work-life integration
flexWorkLife.my has an online job portal powered by myStarjob.com for employers to advertise job opportunities with FWA.
The portal also contains reference materials and best practices from employers with FWA and parent-friendly facilities, in addition to information on grants and tax incentives for return to work programmes and FWA implementation.
In 2014, more than 680 job vacancies with FWA were advertised. Hiring companies included AIG Shared Services (M) Sdn Bhd, IBM Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Siemens Malaysia, Gamuda Bhd and Taylor’s Education Group.
Companies which implemented FWA
Sarena Cheah, managing director – group strategy and corporate development, Sunway Bhd
“As part of our initiatives to attract and retain women in the workforce, we have launched the Women Talent Project. This project includes several components such as flexible working arrangements, childcare centre and mother’s room to provide support for women returning to the workforce after taking a lengthy break to care for their families.”
Life at work – The BASF story
In line with the company’s strategic principle to form the best workforce team, BASF Asia-Pacific Service Centre Sdn Bhd focuses on providing its employees with career development opportunities while ensuring work-life balance is achievable among them.
BASF’s pilot job sharing programme is a work arrangement that adopts the concept of a full-time job being tasked to two employees on a part-time basis.
This concept encourages individuals who are keen to return to employment but unable to work full-time to get back into the working world. The flexibility allows them to manage their personal commitments while having the opportunity to continue being employed.
“Basically our flexibility at work initiatives are centred on three core areas. First is job sharing, second is staggered hours and the last one is work from home. The three combined initiatives give us tremendous flexibility in our workspace.” – Lau Kin Pong, managing director, BASF Asia-Pacific Service Centre Sdn Bhd
Flexibility in the office
flexWorkLife.my, a collaborative effort between TalentCorp and the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, is a portal that promotes family-friendly working environments and looks to increase female participation in the workforce.
Visit flexWorkLife.my for more info!
The Government is encouraging more employers to attract and retain women in the workforce. Through the Women Career Comeback Programme, grants are provided to encourage employers to introduce and implement measures to bring back more professional women from career breaks.
Budget 2015: The Prime Minister announced that TalentCorp will set up the “Women Career Comeback Programme” to encourage women to return to the job market.
“Our partnership with TalentCorp on flexWorkLife is an important one. It helps to meet our own growing talent requirements in Malaysia while at the same time giving us the opportunity to work with the Government to provide a career pathway for Malaysian women to come back into the workforce.” – Rahmat R. Hashim, country head human resources, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd
Career comeback fair
In March 2015, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and TalentCorp organised a Career Comeback Fair which enabled employers to reach out directly to women looking to return to the workforce. Initially run as a pilot programme in 2014, more than 30 employers took part in the event this year, which attracted more than 500 women keen to make their career comeback. Some of the participating employers included Astro, Accenture Malaysia, EcoWorld, Maybank Group, Shell Malaysia, Sunway Group and Taylor’s Education Group.
Companies which implemented career comeback programmes:
From chemical engineer to talent spotter
Nisa Hidayah Ahmad, talent acquisition coordinator, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd
I had stopped working for almost two years. My initial plan was to take a break and enjoy motherhood before I started thinking about going back to work.
It was my sister-in-law who came across the Career Comeback fair in 2014. She posted it on my Facebook page and that was how it started.
Most of the participating employers were among the top employers in Malaysia. I was impressed by the stories that the event speakers shared. I never thought that certain companies offered such flexibility and had so many facilities under one roof.
After much discussion, I decided that I would make my comeback to the workforce as a talent specialist with Standard Chartered Malaysia.
I had graduated in Chemistry and was now venturing into Human Resources (HR). I came in to the industry with zero knowledge of the job.
Nonetheless, I was confident of my ability to adapt and learn. I am amazed by the knowledge I gained over the past one year.
It is not easy to juggle career and family but if a woman can be the manager of the house, she can also be the manager in the office.
Partnerships: TalentCorp HR network
The HR Network was launched by TalentCorp in August 2014 to strengthen collaboration and enhance industry
participation in our talent programmes through sharing of best practices and encouraging industry-led initiatives to attract and nurture Malaysian talent.
The initial areas of focus are to raise HR capability, promote diversity and inclusiveness and to enhance collaborations on leadership development and graduate employability programmes:
- leadership development
- diversity and inclusiveness
- graduate employability
- HR capability
Budget 2015: Encouraging employers to upskill their workforce by providing a double deduction tax incentive on expenses incurred in providing employees with professional qualifications (such as ACCA, CFA, and PMP) and industry recognised vocational qualifications.
Employers are encouraged to invest in developing their HR practitioners to ensure that our human capital management is benchmarked to international best practices and are well-managed by professionally certified practitioners. This is in line with the New Economic Model strategic reform initiative to strengthen HR standards and certification initiative.
Key fact: Currently, less than 1,500 HR practitioners in Malaysia have professional HR certification.
TalentCorp will reimburse 50% of course fees to employers upon successful completion of certification programmes by professional HR bodies:
- Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), UK
- Australian Human Resource Institute (AHRI), Australia
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), USA
- Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM)
Related article: Raising The Bar Of The HR Profession In Malaysia
Advocating diversity in leadership
Diversity as a source of strength
According to the PwC’s Diversity in the Workplace Survey (2013), Malaysia has made good progress in achieving the overall diversity of the workforce, in terms of gender, ethnicity and age.
However, the data suggests the need for greater efforts to improve diversity at top management, with a representation of only 24% women – 18% aged 40 and below and only 34% Bumiputera. Meanwhile, at the board level, only 10.2% of board members of listed companies are women against our target of 30% by 2016.
“Closing gender gaps in economic opportunities could substantially leapfrog Malaysia to high-income status.”
Source: Malaysia Economic Monitor Unlocking Women’s Potential (The World Bank, Nov 2012)
In April 2014, at a Business Leaders Dialogue organised by the Economic Planning Unit, the Securities Commission Malaysia and TalentCorp, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak called on the private sector to show leadership in talent practices.
- All listed companies are required to disclose their diversity policy for board, management and workforce in terms of gender, ethnicity and age in annual reports from Jan 1, 2015.
- Corporate leaders to emulate best international practices in diversity and inclusion by disclosing the breakdown of their workforce in terms of gender, ethnicity and age by management levels.
“As set out in the New Economic Model, we must not achieve our objective of high income at the expense of inclusiveness and sustainability.”
Key facts: Government targets for women in the workforce:
- 55% female labour force participation rate by 2015.
- 30% women in decision-making positions by 2016.
Where there is a WIL, there is a way
Even though they make up half of our country’s population and 70% of local university enrolment, women in Malaysia are not fully optimised in the workforce with a participation rate of only 52.4%.
Working in partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), TalentCorp launched the Women in Leadership Malaysia (WIL MY) programme for senior women managers in April 2014.
This development programme supports the careers of Malaysian women professionals across industry sectors and business functions who are one to three career stages away from a senior leadership or board role.
WIL MY has a strong focus on evolving women’s unique leadership style through a blend of workshops and mentoring. The programme includes sharing of external perspectives, peer learning and strong mentoring by some of Malaysia’s successful corporate leaders and women CEOs.
Among the mentors for WIL MY:
Raja Teh Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz, CEO, Hong Leong Islamic Bank Bhd
Selvarany Rasiah, chief regulatory officer, Bursa Malaysia Bhd
Janet Yap, country managing director – Malaysia, Accenture
Share and learn leading employers’ work-life practices at flexworklife.my
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Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 28 March 2015