Promoting their achievements and accomplishments in the workplace is considered to be more difficult for women in Asia, according to recruiting experts Hays.
According to a survey of over 11,500 people globally from recruiting experts Hays, 47 per cent of women feel they can self-promote in their workplace. Of the 1,183 respondents across Asia, only 38 per cent said they have the opportunity to self promote.
Looking at the countries in Asia more closely, Malaysian and Chinese women were most comfortable in promoting their accomplishments with 42 per cent saying they felt they could self promote. Malaysia and China were followed by Singapore at 36 per cent and trailing behind were Japanese women at 35 per cent.
“Women in Asia are traditionally more reserved in the workplace, due to cultural preconceptions of a woman’s role in society, and compared to men, are less likely to ask for a pay rise or a promotion” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia.
Women also have differing priorities than men at certain stages of their lives, and many opt to put their career on the back-burner to raise a family.
“Employers have a role to play in fostering the confidence of their female workforce by opening channels of communication for them to promote themselves. Employers also need to ensure that the top jobs in their organisation are attractive to women. Women don’t necessarily crave the power that comes with a top job title like men do,” Christine added.
In addition, flexible working practices are considered by Asian respondents in the survey to be the most effective measure in improving gender diversity in the workplace. Employers should take such practical measures to encourage more women stay in the workforce after having children.
Self-promotion is one of the five areas that the Hays China 2016 Gender Diversity Report explores. In addition, the other areas covered include ambition, equal pay, career opportunities and gender diversity policies.
Globally 12% of women aspire to reach an MD/CEO position compared to 18% of men. However when we include those who aspire to reach director level ambition is equal between genders. Just over 40% of women aspire to reach director or MD/CEO level similar to 40% of men. This shows that there is little difference between male and female ambition for reaching senior positions.
Women are actually more ambitious to reach manager and director level but there is a slight drop for MD/CEO compared to men. Despite this, significantly more men are in senior positions compared to women and this increasingly unequal male to female ratio in turn impacts on further opportunities for women.
Improving and maintaining gender diversity is not just about how many women are on boards today but ensuring a substantial number of women are moving into manager roles and higher, so that there is a sustainable pipeline of women to select from when hiring for senior roles.
We must therefore conclude that a lack of female leaders is not due to a low level of female ambition but rather, the way in which companies structure and organise themselves when it comes to promoting talent. These processes are having a disproportionately negative impact on women being able to realise their ambitions and progress their careers.
While the gender of a line manager should have no impact on male or female employees, employers need to be aware of the effect that a male and female line manager can have on how employees feel about their perceived ability to self promote, their career opportunities and pay. Furthermore as management and senior roles are still typically male dominated, there is a lack of role models which is detrimental to female ambition.
Employers need to recognise the commercial and societal benefits of a more gender diverse workforce and prioritise actions that will improve gender diversity.
Additionally men need to recognise that there is a significant difference between men and women’s perception of gender diversity and want to tackle these issues. Without backing from male colleagues it will be much harder to work towards gender equality in the workplace.
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