Women's Tabloid

Home Latest News Women’s Return to Work after a career break could Boost MENA region by $385 Billion

Women’s Return to Work after a career break could Boost MENA region by $385 Billion

In a study conducted by PwC Middle East, empowering women to re-enter the workforce drives economic growth and promotes inclusivity in the dynamic MENA labor market.

Women's Tabloid News Desk
Women's Tabloid News Desk

Women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are emerging as a powerful economic force, driven by ambition and resilience. However, despite their potential, many women face challenges when rejoining the workforce after taking career breaks. This presents an opportunity for employers to support and empower women, tapping into their diverse skills and experiences to drive business growth. By facilitating women’s return to work, as highlighted by PwC’s survey across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Oman, the MENA region stands to benefit from a substantial USD 385 billion contribution to the GDP.

MENA has witnessed remarkable progress for women in recent decades, owing to rapid economic and social transformations, particularly in GCC countries. National policies and strategies have played a pivotal role in integrating women into the workforce. Nevertheless, balancing professional and personal responsibilities often leads women to take career breaks. Leveraging the talent pool of experienced women eager to return to work not only enhances workplace diversity but also addresses the shortage of women in senior leadership positions.

As per data revealed by PWC, career breaks are prevalent even at higher grades, with 68% of women taking breaks beyond entry-level positions. Activation of flexible working arrangements could unlock USD 4.3 billion in GDP gains across surveyed nations. An encouraging 82% of returning women believe in their potential to reach top organizational roles. The support of partners and families is pivotal for women re-entering the workforce, as emphasized by 46% of respondents. Returnship programs emerge as influential, with 83% of participants endorsing their significance.

The primary contributors for career breaks include family care, childcare, and post-childbirth recovery. Despite 43% of women returning to work in MENA, 60% perceive career breaks negatively impacting their careers, particularly working mothers. Partner and family support, work-life balance, flexible work arrangements, and access to suitable job opportunities are essential factors facilitating women’s return to work.

Ongoing hurdles include biases among employers, limitations in flexible work arrangements, and the concern of “mommy tracking.” Overcoming these challenges requires recognizing returning women’s skills, expanding flexible role options, and dispelling assumptions about commitment to caregiving roles.

Effective talent strategies involve enhancing maternity and paternity benefits, implementing flexible work models, launching returnship programs, and addressing unconscious biases. By embracing these solutions, businesses can tap into the vast potential of returning women, promoting inclusivity and driving sustainable growth in the MENA workforce.

Recommended For You