SINGAPORE – Most professionals in the financial services industry believe that women are under-represented in the boardroom, a survey has found.
Over 6 in 10 (62 per cent) working in the industry believe that women are under-represented, the survey by career website eFinancialCareers found.
In a recent study of SGX-listed companies, it was found that only 8 per cent of all board directors in Singapore were women. While many have urged for the implementation of a gender balance quota, the eFinancialCareers survey found that most people believe that flexible working arrangements should be implemented instead.
About 39 per cent of those surveyed said that they believed that what was needed was an introduction of flexible working arrangements. Cultural change (17 per cent) and clear company targets on gender balance (14 per cent) were identified as the next most effective measures that companies could adopt.
A third (33 per cent) of survey respondents were not aware of gender diversity policies within their companies and 41 per cent indicated their firms did not have programs or targets at all.
According to George McFerran, Managing Director APAC at eFinancialCareers: “Financial services firms are certainly aware of the need to improve gender diversity and the vast majority have initiatives in place. However, the fact that only a quarter of finance professionals are currently aware of these is definitely worrying and suggests that more internal promotion is required.”
The firm’s research also showed that well-established diversity practices are critical to attracting top talent. A total of 48 per cent of respondents said it was a very important factor when selecting a future employer.
Age discrimination seemes to continually exist in the financial services sector as well. Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) said they believe age discrimination exists in financial services and most indicated it is an issue faced by older workers rather than younger ones. The majority (79 per cent) of survey respondents felt their work place adequately valued workers aged 30 or younger, and 62 per cent thought their workplace adequately valued workers aged over 50.