Ageing Asia Needs More Women on Boards: Study Findings

September 27, 201712:21 pm1202 views

As part of the efforts to maintain business growth and competitiveness, ageing workforce in Asia needs to bring in more women in the boardroom, according to new figures released by a top recruiting agency last Friday (Sept 22).

The latest gender diversity research conducted by recruitment firm Hays found 80 percent of top jobs in key parts in Asia region are held by men. It means that men dominate eight out of ten senior roles in over 30 industry sectors across China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia.

The study found that 81 percent female respondents believed they face certain barriers to achieve career success owing to their gender. Furthermore, more than half respondents said that there remains gender diversity issues that need to be addressed within their own organisations. 22 percent women employees surveyed were unhappy with their current level of seniority, compared to only 15 percent male respondents who said so.

Hays Hong Kong managing director, Dean Stallard stated that tackling gender bias around promotion, recruitment, and accommodating life choices including parenting and elder care requires focus and could be confronting to some organisation. However, he added, due to current ageing population and talent crunch in Asia region, companies which successfully address those issues will gain a competitive advantage as they have the largest pool of talent to draw upon as candidates.

See: Singapore Sees Highest Employment Outlook in 2 Years

With total of 967 participants from five markets, the respondents were polled online and interviewed between March and April this year, a report from Thomson Reuters Foundation said.

The study found that Hong Kong has the highest number of men occupying the top level jobs at 89 percent. On the other hand, Malaysia has the largest number of female leaders in organisations, but only at 24 percent. Despite the findings, the majority of respondents from both genders agreed that greater gender diversity would help ensure business success.

Mr Stallard suggested firms in Asia region to address their ‘unconscious bias’ when it comes to hiring women, as well as reviewing their company policies to determine whether they are more lopsided towards male success.

“It is well-known that managers often hire in their own image so given (the fact that) men far outnumber women in line management and senior roles, deliberate intervention is required if companies are to reap the benefits offered by greater gender diversity.”

Earlier in May, International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned the rapidly growing number of elderly people in Asian economies is set to create a demographic “tax” on growth. The share of the population aged 65 and older will increase rapidly and reach close to 21/2 times the current level by 2050, Straits Times reports.

Read also: New Programme Launched to Help Women Return to the Workforce

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