Career Guide

Flexible working arrangements

Talent management is the key challenge for CEOs today. Studies confirm it, including a recent study by The Conference Board and the PwC Global CEO survey.

As a result, CEOs are changing their talent management strategies to keep their employees engaged and motivated.

In discussions on talent issues, there is often a hypothesis that salary is the most important factor driving employee decision to join or stay with an organisation.

However, studies reveal otherwise. A 2013 study by Aon Hewitt shows that both female and Gen-Y employees value “flexibility at work” over “rewards”.

The survey shows that in terms of alternative work arrangements, the best organisations provide more opportunities to work remotely and on location. They also offer flexible work hours and days, and the possibility of leave without pay.

The survey also found that:

• In organisations that include “well-being” as one of their employee value propositions, engagement scores of both the female and Gen-Y populations were consistently in the Aon Hewitt “Best Employer” range (77% and 75% respectively).

• Organisations that highlight “flexibility” as an employee offer had higher engagement scores (61% for Gen-Y and 63% for females) than organisations which offer “rewards” as their main employee offer (53% and 54% respectively).

Increasingly, progressive organisations are looking to provide more flexible work arrangements as an attractive employer value proposition. They see it as a powerful tool to attract, retain and motivate their workforce, particularly female and Gen-Y employees.

This is in recognition that their employees prefer a career that moves in rhythm with their changing priorities.

Making time for family

According to an ACCA TalentCorp Survey on women in the workforce, 93% of women currently not in employment welcome the idea of returning to work. However, 63% of them think that it would be difficult to re-enter the workforce.

Some of the barriers to re-entry include concerns that their skills are out-of-date and a perceived lack of commitment from employers. Currently, only 30% of the survey respondents’ employers offer flexibility at work and only 7% have childcare support facilities.

However, more and more companies are aware that employees who are able to integrate both their work and personal commitments tend to be more productive and committed.

Meet employers who offer flexible and part-time work at the flexFair


Convergys SEA Malaysia (formerly known as Datacom SEA) offers flexible work arrangements through multiple shift schedules for permanent and part-time employment. They also provide employment options to start with part-time work and thereafter transition into full-time work. Transport is arranged at scheduled pick up points to ease commuting challenges.

Last year, Convergys hired over 170 part time and more than 300 full time employees and the trend continues as they recruit more this year, in view of Convergys’ extensive growth plan in Malaysia.

At Convergys, we strongly believe that educated women with relevant experience, knowledge and skills who have opted out from the workforce due to family commitments should be given opportunities and the necessary support to return to work on flexible work arrangements if not the opportunity to return to full time employment.

Vinnie Raviraj, regional manager – People Strategy & Talent Acquisition, Convergys SEA Malaysia

“If I hadn’t had the ideal job that allowed me such work flexibilities, to nurture a young family along with my career, I would have opted to stay out of the workforce”.

Ernst & Young

Lee Soo Fern, Malaysia people leader, Ernst & Young

“Flexible work arrangements, which we champion and practise, are a key business imperative to attract and retain women in the workforce. I strongly encourage more women to explore alternative arrangements that will allow them to have both a meaningful career and family life.”

Sonia Wong, senior manager, Malaysia People Team, Ernst & Young

“I left Ernst & Young after five years as an auditor. I felt I needed a change so I took a 10-month career break. I re-joined the firm when my previous mentor offered me an interesting assignment.

The firm was flexible in supporting my aspirations to develop a career in People. I have now been with the People team for nearly four years. Looking back, I can honestly say that the supportive leaders and colleagues were definitely a key reason why I returned to and remained with the firm.”


Gan Wee Fong, executive director, Assurance , PwC

Gan is mother to a toddler, works full time and does some of her work from home.

“I’ve gone through different chapters in my career and personal life throughout my journey with PwC. My role is challenging, working with top-tier clients and managing tight deadlines. Even more challenging is my new role as a mother.

It’s not easy striking a balance, but being given the trust and having the flexibility to deliver my work from anywhere, anytime certainly helps. At PwC, the focus is on delivering good quality work – even if it means working from home when the need arises.”

Kristy Chai, senior consultant, e-Tax, PwC

Kristy is on a flexible work arrangement to learn a new skill.

“The PwC flexible work arrangements has given me the opportunity to pursue my hobby. PwC has shown me that it’s an organisation that values people by giving me the time off to develop myself personally in my own unique ways.”