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Over half of Southeast Asian working mums surveyed are adopting innovative ways of time management

Over half of Southeast Asian working mums surveyed are adopting innovative ways of time management

About 68% also believe that remote work and flexible working arrangements would enhance work-life balance and career growth for them, with a majority from the Philippines (77%) and Singapore (75%) sharing the sentiment. 

While women in the workforce have received countless opportunities, they still face significant challenges. 

Working mothers in Southeast Asia are increasingly having to learn time management to maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

According to a Milieu Insight survey conducted in conjunction with Mother's Day, 55% of working mothers surveyed in Southeast Asia currently adopt innovative time management techniques to navigate the intricacies of work-life integration.

The study, conducted from 2-12 April 2024, surveyed 3,000 working mothers across Southeast Asia, covering the following countries: 

  • Singapore 
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • The Philippines
  • Thailand 

The survey revealed five key challenges working mothers are facing across Southeast Asia: 

  1. Juggling between working versus being at home; 
  2. Self-care struggles;
  3. Becoming a mother has had an adverse impact on their career;
  4. Working mothers believe remote work and flexible work arrangements would enhance their work-life balance & career growth, and
  5. The need for extended leave without stigma. 

Juggling between working versus being at home 

Despite evolving work dynamics, working mothers in Southeast Asia grapple with balancing career and family responsibilities. 

Six out of 10 respondents in the region struggle to allocate sufficient time for both. 

In comparison to America, mothers employ various strategies to blend work and family life, yet motherhood often interrupts career paths, with it taking over a decade for full-time employment rates among mothers to reach 50%.

Self-care struggles 

Overall, 42% of Singaporeans and Vietnamese women express heightened challenges in prioritising their wellbeing amidst the competing demands of work and home, surpassing the regional average of 31%

The study also showed that 44% of those surveyed wish more people understood the difficulties they face as a working mother

Southeast Asia lacks sufficient wellbeing policies, leaving 53% of working mothers dissatisfied or neutral about maternity leave.

Prioritising resources for self-care and fostering a wellness culture can relieve strain, thus boosting job satisfaction and productivity.

Becoming a mother has had an adverse impact on their career

Across Southeast Asia, one out of every five working mothers feels that being a mother has negatively affected their career, with the highest proportion seen in Singapore at 40%.

This aligns with the fact that 66% of working mothers in the region handle substantial household duties such as childcare, cleaning, and cooking.

 Although Singapore has a relatively lower percentage of women solely responsible for household tasks (19%), Indonesia contrasts sharply, with 43% of women bearing this responsibility alone.

Working mothers believe remote work and flexible work arrangements would enhance their work-life balance & career growth

Singapore's adoption of new flexi-work rules from 1 December 2024, represents a forward-thinking shift, empowering mothers with greater control over their schedules, the study noted.

About 68% of working moms in Southeast Asia, particularly in Singapore (75%) and the Philippines (77%), see remote work and flexible setups as key to improving both work-life balance and career advancement. 

The need for extended leave without stigma 

About one in two working mothers surveyed in Southeast Asia have had to extend maternity leave or use unpaid leave to care for their children, with Vietnam having the highest percentage (59%).

Additionally, per the findings, 54% of Singaporean working mothers advocate for extended leave policies despite the current 16-week cap. However, there is a lot of stigma around mothers who take time away from work with some companies penalising parents who take maternity leave.


READ MORE: Mother's Day special: How being a mother shapes the leadership style of these 9 leaders

Lead image / Provided by Milieu 

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