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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Companies urged to improve childcare

Workplace childcare options positively impact societies and companies, says IFC

With daycare services difficult to find in Japan, companies are providing them to keep mothers in the workforce. Toru Hanai / Reuters.
With daycare services difficult to find in Japan, companies are providing them to keep mothers in the workforce. Toru Hanai / Reuters.

Offering childcare in the workplace has an economic impact on societies and companies, which benefit from staff retention, productivity gain and improvement in recruitment, a new report reveals.

The study, published by International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector lending arm of the World Bank Group, drew its conclusions based on 10 case studies of companies around the world. The firms included the Japanese lender The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, the Jordanian garment manufacturer MAS Kreeda Al Safi-Madaba and the Turkey-based automotive component maker Martur.

“We have surveyed many countries around the world and surveyed many companies around the world and we have seen the impact of childcare on the productivity of the companies, on retention and on profitability of these companies,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, the regional director for the IFC.

A study conducted by Women UN in 2012 in 30 developing and developed countries found that women devote more time to housework and childcare, with difference ranging between 50 per cent more in Cambodia to three times more in Italy.

“One of the things that we have been supporting and pushing which leads to economic growth in most of these countries is the gender agenda,” said Mr Makhlouf.

Improving women’s working conditions is conducive to economic prosperity, according to the consultancy McKinsey.

Nearly US$12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by promoting women’s equality and the public, private and social sectors will need to act to close gender gaps in work and society, it said.

“The driver for us in all of this really is economic growth,” said Mr Makhlouf. “Having better economic policies in a country is linked to gender, it is linked to equal business opportunities for women.”

The current participation rate for women in the global workforce is just over 49 per cent, nearly 27 percentage points lower than the rate of men, according to the ILO.