75% of Singapore women feel they are under-represented in business leadership roles: Survey

75% of Singapore women feel they are under-represented in business leadership roles: Survey

SINGAPORE - It appears that women in Singapore feel that companies here still have some way to go in achieving gender equality in the workplace, a new paper by recruitment firm Robert Walters has revealed.

The paper showed that three-quarters of female employees in Singapore feel that women are not adequately represented in leadership positions at the workplace.

Moreover, nearly half (49%) of women feel that their organisation lacks fair and equal representation of female business leaders, while only about a-third (37%) think that their current employer has clear and enforced policies on gender diversity, equality and inclusion.

Titled "Empowering Women In The workplace", the white paper is based on a January 2016 survey of over 4,400 clients and active jobseekers from both sexes across 10 Asia Pacific markets.

In Singapore, 37 per cent of all respondents cited family pressures or commitments outside of work as reasons for female under-representation. 32 per cent believed that it is due to a preference by management to promote men over women, while 30 per cent highlighted workplace cultures that do not actively foster diversity, inclusion and equality.

Meanwhile, just 21 per cent of Singapore respondents agreed that women held more than one-fifth of leadership positions in their companies, and just 45 per cent believed that there are strong female leaders within their organisations.

However, the white paper reveals differences between men and women in their perceptions of gender diversity in leadership roles.

More than half (56%) of male respondents in Singapore stated that they think women have sufficient standing in business leadership roles. By contrast, 75 per cent of women respondents feel that they are inadequately represented.

Men are also more likely to feel there are strong female leaders and that there is a fair and equal gender balance in leadership positions.

The city-state appears to be doing slightly better than the region as a whole at perceptions of gender equality, however.

Overall, 80 per cent of women in the region surveyed think that they are under-represented in business leadership positions, while only 39 per cent feel that female leaders are fairly and equally represented.

But there are significant differences between the 10 markets involved in the study. For example, just 38 per cent of Vietnamese women, 43 per cent of women in Indonesia and 48 per cent of women in Thailand feel that they are inadequately represented in leadership roles.

seanyap@sph.com.sg

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