In lieu of International Women’s Day (8 March), this month we look back on the advancement of women in the workforce. From the old preconceived notions that females should only stay at home to do mundane house chores, we’ve progressed to the point where more women are joining the workforce with the percentages in Singapore rising every year.
Since 2006, the labour force participation rate for women has increased from 54 percent to 61 percent according to the labour force survey released by MOM, (2019 survey), a stable rise over the years. As more women are joining the labour force, it’s important to build career networks along the way.
But what is a career network and why is it important to maintain it? In this article we’ll learn about career networks, how to build them and also look at the various female career networks available in Singapore.
What’s a career network?
As defined by University of Berkley, career networking is defined as having “career conversations” with someone for the purpose of exploring careers or job searching. In essence, a career network is similar to LinkedIn where you meet new people from varying companies and industries in an attempt to expand the field of people you know. Networking is particularly useful when it comes to looking for a new job, in fact in 2017, nearly half of Singapore professionals said they secured their current job in large part because they kept in touch with their professional network. Networking could be an integral part of your career for your future, so it’s important to start building it early to ensure you have all your bases covered and there won’t be any missed opportunities
Female Career Networks in Singapore
So what are the available career networks out there available for ladies looking to start networking? In Singapore, there have been efforts to help facilitate the networking of females to be smoother and also make networking easier and more successful. Quite a number of networking events and groups have been set up by different organisations. We’ve seen a rise in the creation of more female networking groups as the years go by with more women starting their own groups to empower other females. Here are three groups worth noting:
1. CRIB Society
Founded in 2014 by Dr Elaine Kim, Tjin Lee, Mei Chee and Marilyn Lum, today CRIB has over 300 core members and a large network of a few thousand people. CRIB stands for Creating Responsible and Innovative Businesses. CRIB is a social enterprise that empowers women to become successful entrepreneurs through networking opportunities, business matching, and professional development. For the ladies looking to start their own businesses, CRIB may be a good starting point for your business ventures. Find out more about CRIB and what they do here.
The SWN is a networking group for women of all nationalities working in Singapore, including those who are interested in working here in the future. SWN organises networking gatherings, social dinners, and conferences with female leaders across industries. Their aim is to allow like-minded women to meet and expand their social circles. Started in 2010, SWN has grown to have a community of a couple thousand, with the committee being run by a small team of dedicated volunteers. For those interested, SWN is free to join, with most of their events being free. For more information on SWN click here.
BWNASIA serves as a business building platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Members are able to attend carefully planned workshops, monthly network meetings and 1:1 mentor partnerships. BWNASIA has a welcoming environment and encourages members to learn and share as a community. Founded in 2014, BWNASIA has seen many members join with up to 3,000 members in their following. Click here to learn more about them.
There are of course many more female career networks in Singapore as well as generic network groups available that are not listed in this article. Networking can be as simple as making friends at your workplace or school to establishing connections on LinkedIn. You can never be too sure if your connections could come in handy in the future. Consider applying for networking groups if you need a reliable place to start.