18 Mar 2016 02:40:37 PM

How flexible work arrangement helped this mother return to work

Three years ago, Chua Seow Swang left the workforce to care for her newborn.

Even though she was on a break from work, Chua kept herself connected to the workforce by volunteering for the Ibu Family Resource Group where she took on the role of Activity Co-ordinator and Treasurer. In that role, she could continuously apply her knowledge of finance and project management and experiences from 11 years of work. 

When her children started school, Chua decided to return to the workforce but faced two challenges: choosing the right job and managing her commitment level. She knew she had to be clear about how much time she could give to both work and family and the type of work that she could take on. 

"It was clear that I could have some work time in the morning while the children are in school and that they will need me when they return home," she shared.

Her dilemma was compounded by the fact that predictable workloads were impossible in the consulting industry. So she needed to set the right expectations with potential employers and take her time exploring the right job for her needs. Chua calls it "a battle between jobs you would love to have versus jobs that you can honestly take on and deliver". 

Despite these challenges, Chua found the right match with PwC Malaysia, where she was allowed to be in a support role with a workload that permitted flexible part-time arrangements. Today, Chua works five half-days a week from 8:30am to 12:30pm - while the children are in school - and is free to focus on family commitments in the afternoons.

With a smaller portfolio, Chua credits her success to supportive supervisors and a performance-driven company culture. 

As long as you deliver, working out-of-office is not an issue."

Chua's big tip for women seeking to return to the workforce is this: Be focused and deliberate. She advises women to know what they can give and find the right employers. "Be confident and proactive in sharing what they can bring to the table in terms of skills and experience instead of waiting for employers to figure things out." 
Take charge of your career!"


The Career Comeback Programme offers professional women the opportunity to relaunch their career after a long hiatus.

Find out how this programme can help you to return to the workforce at our website