The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG) yesterday released a report entitled, “Improving Incentives for Women’s Employment”. In mid-September, 528 Hong Kong citizens were invited to comment on working women in Hong Kong and the sufficiency of government and companies’ strategies in encouraging the female labour force.
More than 80% of interviewees supported increasing women’s presence in the workplace. Many agreed women should join the workforce so as to be financially independent (average score: 6.67 out of 10 – 0 as totally disagree and 10 as fully agree), and the economy of Hong Kong could be boosted if there were more working women (average score: 6.7 out of 10).
Nevertheless, when they were asked about women who also held a maternal role, they admitted women with children under 12 years old should be stay-at-home mothers if there was no economic pressure on them (5.77 out of 10).
The government’s effort in motivating women to join the labour force was rated as 4.11 out of 10. Over three-fourths (75.7%-78.6%) pointed out current child care services in Hong Kong were insufficient.
Keith Leung, vice-convener of HKFYG, stated the government should bear in mind each stakeholder’s role, for example, schools as a shelter, non-government organisations as a service provider, and government as financial support. The Hong Kong government should also look to Singapore for solutions such as providing financial subsidies to companies who are willing to initiate a flexible workplace.
Respondents evaluated the measures that could help promote the female workforce: family member’s assistance (78.1%), hiring a domestic helper (61.3%), work at home option (57.1%) and flexible work hours (50.4%).
Nearly 60% of respondents agreed employers should provide assistance.
Chau Ho Man, a member of the HKFYG, suggested employers could turn full-time logistics and assistant positions into part-time or work-at-home policies.
Currently, there were only 10% of employers who were willing to provide a flexible working hour arrangement for non-service industry and logistics positions.
In 2017, the percentage of women in the workforce was 50.9%, with men at 68.3%.
A woman’s responsibility to take care of family members, especially young children, was speculated as the cause in the difference.
In 2016, the unmarried female labour force was 65.1%, while married females took up 44.1% of the total workforce, only 1.3% higher than 10 years ago.