About 51 per cent of Singaporean women working in the technology industry believe the effects of COVID-19 have delayed their career progression as they struggle to balance work and family life, according to Kaspersky’s new Women in Tech report on Tuesday (19 January).
The global cybersecurity company found that 40 per cent of Singaporean women working in technology have struggled to juggle work and family life since March last year.
Though the figure is at its most prominent in North America, Kaspersky indicated it is a consistent worldwide trend.
“If the tech realm takes the lead and ensures a more flexible and balanced environment for women, then it will become the norm more quickly, which is more likely to trigger a change in social dynamics too,” said Evgeniya Naumova, Kaspersky’s vice president of the global sales network.
In terms of day-to-day functions that are slowing down their productivity or work progression, about 62 per cent of women said they have done the majority of cleaning in the home and had been in charge of home-schooling, respectively.
While 47 per cent of women said they have had to adapt their working hours in order to look after the family.
Dr Patricia Gestoso, head of scientific customer support at BIOVIA, said the effect of the pandemic “broadly differed” for women as some might prefer the greater flexibility and lack of commute from working at home, whilst others find themselves “on the verge of burnout”.
The report found that 21 per cent of Singaporean women working in the tech industry prefer working at home, 28 per cent said they work most efficiently when working from home, while 24 per cent revealed they have more autonomy when not working in an office.
“It’s paramount that companies ensure their managers are aligned with their strategy to support employees with caregiving responsibilities,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Kaspersky stated that 39 per cent of Singaporean women in tech believe an equal working environment would be best for career progression, and 58 per cent think that remote working is an optimum way to achieve that equality.
Commenting on this, Merci Vinton, co-founder and CEO at Ada’s List, stressed that companies need to understand the significance of having women in leadership, majority-women teams and women in interviews.
“Companies need to signal, both through culture and policy, that they will give working parents of both genders the flexibility they need during COVID (and beyond),” said Ms Vinton.