Businesses confirm: Mothers know best
More Hong Kong firms to hire working mothers in 2015, but flexibility is key
Hong Kong, August 20, 2015 – New research by global workplace provider, Regus has revealed that 32% of businesses in Hong Kong are planning to hire more returning mothers in 2015 than in 2014. The figures are significantly higher than the global average of 26%. The global study surveyed more than 44,000 senior business people across more than 100 countries, including 365 respondents from Hong Kong.
According to the global survey, returning mothers play an important role in the overall economy by contributing to boosting GDP through increased female participation in the labour force. This is particluarly true for cities like Hong Kong where the workforce will start shrinking in three years, from 3.71 million workers in 2018 to a projected 3.52 million in 2031, according to The Hong Kong Government latest statistics.
Against this backdrop, bringing mothers back into the workforce has become an imperative for Hong Kong businesses. According to a 2012 government census survey, the city has about 500,000 stay-at-home mothers, of whom 8% - about 40,000 - said that they would consider returning to work if the right support was given. 
The contrasting demands of motherhood and work are one of the main reasons women drop out of the workforce. To combat this phenomenon, respondents in Hong Kong and around the world emphasised the important role that flexible working plays in attracting female talent; in fact, 83% of respondents believe that flexible working is key to attracting and retaining women workers.
The research also highlights the fact that returning mothers are particularly valued by businesses globally because of their experience and skillset, as well as reliability and excellent time management. Additionally, returning mothers are seen as less likely to change jobs, saving firms the cost of recruitment and re-training. Previous Regus research further confirms that 57% of businesses think that retaining working mothers helps improve productivity as training costs are lower than hiring new employees.
Key findings include:
- 26% of respondents globally, 32% in Hong Kong, 51% in Mainland China and 42% in Taiwan report they will be hiring more returning mothers in 2015.
- 55% of respondents globally, 55% in Hong Kong, 47% in China and 40% in Taiwan value returning mothers for their experience and skills.
- 34% of respondents globally, 41 % in Hong Kong, 50% in Mainland China and 37% in Taiwan believe that returning mothers are less likely to change jobs.
- 30% respondents globally, 37% in Hong Kong, 43% in China and 42% in Taiwan value the reliability of returning mothers in the workplace.
- 28% of respondents globally, 22% in Hong Kong, 39% in Mainland China and 34% in Taiwan also value the desire of working mothers to prove their worth.
Commenting on the research, Michael Ormiston, Country Manager at Regus Hong Kong said: "There is a vast amount of untapped potential among skilled and experienced mothers who are unable to work due to family commitments. Flexible working enables companies to tap into this workforce and offer returning mothers a path back into the workforce."
The benefits to businesses are clear: less staff turnover, lower hiring and training costs and access to talented staff. But businesses warn that in order to retain these valuable employees it is critical that firms offer some level of flexible working, such as the possibility to work closer to home.
"With reports suggesting that if the number women in the workforce reached the same as that of men national GDP growth could be up to 10% higher, the case for increasing flexible working is very strong. Add to that the value placed on returning mothers by businesses and it is evident that businesses need to reassess their use of flexible working to attract top female talent," Ormiston said.
 Booz & Co, Empowering the Third Billion Women and the World of Work in 2012, 2013
 Abhk, It’s time Hong Kong business got serious about getting flexible, Feb 28, 2015
 Regus, Keeping mum in the workplace, Mar 2013
Regus is the global workplace provider.
Its network of more than 2,300 business centres in 106 countries provides convenient, high-quality, fully serviced spaces for people to work, whether for a few minutes or a few years. Companies like Google, Toshiba and GlaxoSmithKline choose Regus so that they can work flexibly and make their businesses more successful.
The key to flexible working is convenience and so Regus is opening wherever its 2.1 million members want support - city centres, suburban districts, shopping centres and retail outlets, railway stations, motorway service stations and even community centres.
Founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1989, Regus is based in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, please visit: www.regus.com