KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — It’s not easy making a comeback to your career after being out of the workforce for a while.
Whether it was for family or personal reasons, many women face anxieties about explaining their career breaks to hiring managers for fear it may raise a red flag and foil their chances of securing a job.
To address these concerns, TalentCorp has hosted Career Comeback Programme workshops with companies who are looking to attract women to return to the working world.
One such workshop recently took place at the Baker Hughes Malaysia office at Menara Tan & Tan in Kuala Lumpur where participants engaged in group activities on self-branding and networking.
They were also given a LinkedIn masterclass by Baker Hughes APAC senior talent acquisition manager Karen Choe, who also took the time to share her inspirational career comeback story with attendees.
Choe had taken breaks twice, the first after health complications from her first pregnancy needed her on bed rest, and the second to spend more time with her spouse, a decision that allowed her to know herself better and what she needed to be a better mum and wife.
“My career break was a time of self-actualisation. That’s when I realised that I’m a person who loves to work.
“I knew that if I stayed at home, I would become a worse mother because I wouldn’t be happy. Plus, I wouldn’t have my own income,” she told Malay Mail.
Her desire to get back into her career reflects the sentiments of many women who were present at the workshop.
Jessica Chan, who worked as a semiconductor engineer before embarking on a 10-year career break, was motivated to return to work after getting restless of everyday life as a stay-at-home mum.
“I missed the feelings of self-worth and self-satisfaction that you get from having a career.
“After all these years of looking after my family, I think it’s time that I do something for myself.
“Through the workshop today, I now know that there are companies who are open to giving opportunities to women who have left the workforce for a while and that’s very promising,” she said.
Fellow participant Siti Noorhana Saidin also commended the Career Comeback Workshop for helping participants to address the confidence gap that often hinders women from returning to work after a career break.
“This is the major thing that blocks women from returning to the workforce, but a workshop like this helps address these issues and more.
“Coming together with women who are on a similar mission and meeting with a company who’s open to hiring women wanting to return to work has been really helpful in closing that confidence gap,” she said.
Along with hosting these workshops, Baker Hughes Malaysia places emphasis on making the transition back into the workplace smooth and fuss-free for women who are returning from a career break.
The organisation grants caregiver leave to their employees and even offers counseling services under the Employee Assistance Programme which can be utilised by employees and their immediate family.
All this helps attract much-needed talent back to the workforce, and Baker Hughes Malaysia hopes that partnering with TalentCorp can spearhead that movement to further success.
“From an employer’s perspective, to have people who already have prior experience in the workplace coming back to work is truly helpful.
“There are a lot of initiatives in place to ensure that we meet our key performance indicator for diversity, which is to make sure the organisation is made up of at least 30 percent women,” said Baker Hughes Malaysia HR partner Jessica Ong.
The Career Comeback Workshop is part of TalentCorp’s Career Comeback Programme and aims to reskill or upskill women in soft skills, technical skills, and industry knowledge following a career break.
Attendees can connect with potential employers and network with industry players while learning how to adapt themselves to the current climate in their respective fields.
The Career Comeback Programme is open to all Malaysian women who are under 58 years old and have been on a career break for more than six months at the time of application.
Since its introduction in 2015, the Career Comeback Programme has secured jobs for 820 as of April 2019 and an estimated 500 women have attended its workshops this year.