Mothers returning to work have new skills in their favour

The event, #wegotyourback, was held at WorkCentral in Singapore Shopping Centre. Ms Simel Essen (above) found a job through a previous session of the event held last May and got a job with Johnson & Johnson.
The event, #wegotyourback, was held at WorkCentral in Singapore Shopping Centre. Ms Simel Essen found a job through a previous session of the event held last May and got a job with Johnson & Johnson.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
The event, #wegotyourback, was held at WorkCentral in Singapore Shopping Centre. Ms Simel Essen (above) found a job through a previous session of the event held last May and got a job with Johnson & Johnson.
The event, #wegotyourback, was held at WorkCentral in Singapore Shopping Centre. Ms Simel Essen (above) found a job through a previous session of the event held last May and got a job with Johnson & Johnson.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

They get to explore job options, receive training at careers event

New mothers returning to the workforce should view the attributes they have gained through motherhood as an expansion of their skill set, said employers at a careers event yesterday.

Johnson & Johnson marketing head Joyce Lim told the gathering: "Articulate positively about what you have gone through. Prioritise these skill sets and how they are transferable to your job."

Citing her own experience as a mother, Ms Lim said such skills range from knowing how to prioritise, and having patience when guiding others. She also said there are similarities between managing a household and managing people.

Ms Susan Chen, senior vice-president at ride-hailing firm Gojek, urged women to explore their employment options, reminding them that they are selecting the firm as much as it is selecting them.

She noted that more firms are increasingly open to non-traditional work arrangements.

Many of the 12 companies at the event have implemented options such as working from home, unlimited leave and in-house maternity facilities to support working mothers.

Career training workshops such as mock interviews, resume critique and networking opportunities were provided for the 160 mothers who attended the event organised by career portal Mums @ work, which aims to support mothers rejoining the workforce.

A recurring concern among the women was that they would lose relevance in an ever-progressing labour force.

"When I was working things were very traditional, (but) now not so," said former training executive Joy Tan, 40, after she undertook a workshop on Linkedin.

 
 
 
 

While not every mother will become employed with a partnering company, Mums @ work founder Sher-Li Torrey said she hopes the event will empower women with the tools they need to continue seeking work.

She also noted that reintegration is a two-way process, adding that women must know what they need so that companies can reciprocate accordingly.

There seems to be a genuine need for women to return to work, with rapidly expanding organisations like Marina Bay Sands (MBS) holding about 1,000 job opportunities, according to Ms Joyce Tan, its associate director of human resources.

Ms Tan added that as a sign of the firm's commitment to the Mums @ work cause, mothers at the event who seek to join MBS would get extra attention paid to their resumes.

Ms Simel Essen, 38, had trouble re-entering the workforce after a four-year break from her previous job in banking and insurance. After attending an earlier session of the event last May, she got connected with Johnson & Johnson. After about a year, she was hired for a position in finance for the consumer products giant.

She encouraged women to keep knocking on doors and to show that they are "determined, ambitious and want to add value to the company".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2019, with the headline 'Mothers returning to work have new skills in their favour'. Print Edition | Subscribe