Both Women and Men Link Greater Gender Diversity to Business Success
but Female Leadership Remains Very Low in Aisa

PR Gender Diversity

Men still hold at least 80 per cent of the top jobs in Asia as well as the bulk of line manager roles, according to research carried out by recruiting experts Hays.

Hong Kong has the highest number of men occupying the top job at 89 per cent and Malaysia the highest percentage of female leaders at just 24 per cent.

The annual gender diversity research conducted by Hays is based on a survey of women and men working in more than 30 industry sectors across China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

“Each year, Hays carries out research on gender diversity in all the countries where we support businesses. To better serve the thousands of employers and candidates we work with across Asia, we are producing this new report to focus exclusively on what is happening in our region,” explains Simon Lance, Managing Director of Hays Greater China.

“Last year, men held 79 per cent of the top jobs and 67 per cent of line manager roles so there is no real improvement in female representation in leadership roles,” says Simon.

“However, we have been buoyed by the similarities of views when it comes to recognising that greater gender diversity delivers positives for business,” he says.

The largest proportion of respondents of both genders:

• believe greater gender diversity contributes to business success,
• support more sharing of family responsibilities to help address equality in the workplace,
• describe access to flexible work options as important to them,
• concede women face barriers to career success due to gender,
• agree their organisation has some gender diversity issues to address.
“Tackling gender bias around promotion, recruitment and accommodating life choices such as parenting and elder care requires focus and can be confronting to any organisation,” says Simon.

“However, with an aging population and workforce in Asia, the companies that get this right will ensure they have the largest pool of talent to draw upon as candidates get harder to find and thus, will gain a competitive advantage that is truly worth the commitment in getting this done right,” he says.

By country, all Hong Kong survey respondents say greater gender diversity has a positive impact on business. Japan has the largest proportion of respondents with fewer than six per cent of respondents saying greater gender diversity has no positive business impact. In Singapore less than five per cent of respondents share that view while in China, it was less than three per cent and Malaysia only one per cent. 

Both male and female respondents in China, Malaysia and Singapore view company culture is the most useful benefit of greater gender diversity. In Japan, men and women see the recruitment of the best talent as the key benefit. In Hong Kong both genders agree greater gender diversity boosts a company’s reputation.

“Organisations need to review if the way they identify and promote high-potential employees is skewed towards male success,” says Simon.

“It is well-known that managers often hire in their own image so given 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.

“The best person for the role should get the job but too often, companies struggle to see past their own unconscious bias to identify high quality female talent.”

“We also need to ensure our work cultures enable women of ability to put their hand up for added responsibilities and promotion without being viewed as pushy.”

Other results of the 2017 Hays Asia Gender Diversity Report include:

• More than half of female respondents (51 per cent) and 46 per cent of men concede women face barriers to career success due to their gender.
• A further 30 per cent of female respondents believe women “very much” encounter barriers to career progression compared. Only 15 per cent of men share this view.
• More women than men are dissatisfied with their current level of seniority (22 per cent versus 15 per cent). 
• 28 per cent of women and 24 per cent of men are not at all confident their manager understands their ambitions.
• 21 per cent of women say men have greater access to opportunity than female colleagues of the same ability and 40 per cent say access is only “somewhat” provided.
• Surprisingly, more men than women (20 per cent versus 17 per cent) believe their organisation “very much” has gender diversity issues to address and 35 per cent of female respondents and 33 per cent of male respondents that their organisation has some issues to address.
• Approximately 73 per cent of women say flexibility is very important or important to them with men not far behind at 67 per cent.
• Overall, half of male respondents can access flexible work options in their current role compared to only 40 per cent of female respondents.
• Most respondents in Hong Kong (54 per cent) and Singapore (53 per cent) have access to flexible work options.
• In contrast, there were no flexible options available to the majority of respondents in Malaysia (64 per cent), China (51 per cent versus) and Japan (41 per cent).

Visit our 2017 Gender Diversity report microsite here to learn more about the findings uncovered.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2017 the Group employed 10,000 staff operating from 250 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2017:

– the Group reported net fees of £954.6 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £211.5 million;
– the Group placed around 70,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 240,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 24% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 49% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 27% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 60% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 40% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.

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