Working mothers in the Philippines are the most interested in starting businesses and finding a stable job, compared to other segments of the population. However, they encounter lack of finances and time as barriers to opportunity, or opportunity gaps.
These were findings from LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2020, a composite measure that seeks to understand how people perceive opportunities and the gaps that stand in the way of achieving them.
The study published by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, found that as much as 25 percent of Filipino working mothers consider entrepreneurship as the main opportunity they are interested in. Job security was named by 16 percent of working mothers and ranks second among the main opportunities they want to pursue.
However, Filipino working mothers are held back from these opportunities by their financial status and lack of time. In particular, lack of time is a more difficult barrier for them compared to other respondents. They also experience related concerns such as lack of support in family commitments and weak networks as bigger hurdles compared to other respondents.
Single working moms
These opportunity gaps can be particularly challenging for a significant number of working mothers in the Philippines raising children on their own. The study found that close to 22 percent of working mothers in the Philippines are single, the second highest in the world after Brazil, which has 23 percent.
With their hands full, Filipino working mothers are least likely to be actively, or casually, looking for work opportunities, but this does not mean that they don’t have ambitions on their own. In fact, the study found that they are the most open to consider any offers that come their way.
Philippine economic data has found that the country has the lowest female work force participation in Southeast Asia at 46 percent. Filipino women are also more likely to quit work during their childbearing years. Addressing opportunity gaps is vital so that working mothers can return to or remain at work, should they wish to.
Feon Ang, vice president, LinkedIn Talent and Learning Solutions, Asia-Pacific shared, “across Apac, women feel that they face higher barriers to opportunities than men, such as a lack of work experience, confidence and a fear of failure. Working mothers also struggle more with too many family commitments and a lack of support.”
“As industries face the global shortage of talent and skills gaps, it becomes more important for businesses to do more to encourage women to be a part of the work force and help them reach their full potential. A diverse and inclusive work force can be a huge advantage for businesses as employees can share and learn from one another’s perspectives, experiences and ways of solving problems,” she added.
LinkedIn encourages women to find the support they need whenever opportunity gaps become too overwhelming. This can be in terms of working to prioritize, setting boundaries or reaching out to others, especially those with shared experiences for support and resources. By being open about their needs, women can inspire or advocate for others in similar situations.