'With a growing economy and an aging population, Malta is facing a shortage of workers. The only band-aid solution seems to be importing foreign labour' - Malta Today 27th October 2017'
This is frustrating for us to read especially because we are on a mission to empower women to get back in the working world, encourage them to gain the industry skills to get back in the board-room and inspire our female force to explore work-life integration, so when we read this article we thought to ourselves #whataboutwomen?
While, yes we agree, importing foreign labour is a great solution, we think it comes a close second right by finding ways to encourage and support Malta's talented women to get back in the working world. Our islands has loads of qualified, eager women who have been absent from the working world for a while, yet are craving to get back in the game - that's a fact. The question is, if we aren't even acknowledging them to be a potential solution to our country's problem, we probably aren't even thinking about how we can support them and how they can add value to our businesses by hiring them - it's clearly not sure a Malta issue.
“The UK has a massive productivity problem and I think that’s largely because we forget about half the population women,” says Labour MP Jess Phillips, who launched the year-long inquiry with Conservative MP Flick Drummond.
So, we decided to get in touch with some of EY's panel debate members to get their insight, opinions and thoughts - our question was simple #whataboutwomen? Victor Carachi - President of GWU was the first to reply
'I made exactly the same point in one of my interventions at the conference but this unfortunately was not reported in the media. I feel that Jobsplus should do more to increase the female participation rate of our country. In fact, I proposed that a focused PR campaign, a tailor made training programme, and financial incentives could go a long way to encourage more women to join the labour market'
We thought to ourselves most definitely GWU are on the right track- great start! Clyde Caruana - Chairperson at JobsPlus had this to say.
'Your point is very valid. We are addressing this cohort through our Work Programme Initiative whereby we have three private service providers delivering services on our behalf, it's called The Work Programme Initiative (Read more about it here)
So great, we thought to ourselves JobsPlus which is on a mission to enhance accessibility to labour market and promote investment in human capital has introduced a type of returnship programme and while this isn't exclusively for women it's a start. Is it enough? Our research continued.
'When women have career breaks they don’t lose their knowledge and skills – if anything they gain skills from working in a different way. After having children they learn to deal with pressure, multi-task in isolation, regulate their emotions and have someone completely dependent on them,” - Portia Hickey, work psychologist shared.
Founder of The Return Hub
, Dominee Moss continued by stressing that “highly educated women with established careers offer maturity and a fresh perspective. There is evidence that more diverse organisations have better profits and benefit from more diverse opinions.”
A new survey conducted by the London Business School shows that 70% of women fear taking a career break and are anxious about the effect taking time out for maternity leave or travel will have on their career. The majority of the respondents are scared that they won't be able to confidently get to grips with new technology, that they'll lose touch with industry best practices and quickly become irrelevant - all these points are valid however we must emphasis that there is a lot that we can do to bust these blocks - online training, free resources and keeping up to date with the latest trends, updates and news is just a click of a button away thanks to tech.
Back to Malta, Profs Alfred Vella from the University of Malta who was also a panel member during the EY debate shared his thoughts -
''I fully agree getting mums out of the house and into the job market would be a profitable use of human capital resources, provided it is done sensitively and with an eye on the rights to a happy life of young children.''
At this point we must emphasis that JobsforMumsMalta.com endlessly encourages women and men to share family responsibilities especially when it comes to the upbringing of young children so while yes we agree that we need to make sure that children remain priority this isn't just the responsibility of the mother - the father should be an active player too. We had dedicated a blog to this awhile back here
and shared the latest report by 2017 Modern Families Index
which confirmed that millennial men are starting to understand what working mums have been fighting for, for decades.
We believe that to the economy, a woman offers a massive boost to productivity and to an employer she offers a wealth of experience. There is a huge resource of females eager to get back in the game.
So we’re happy to heard from the EY panel a - a positive response. Next, we'd like to shift the conversation over to you, tell us ‘#Whataboutwomen
?’ - are you eager to jump right back into the working world? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Panel image credit to MaltaToday Tia Reljic 25 October 2017, 6:10pm