Singaporean women desire international mobility at work: PwC survey

Singaporean women desire international mobility opportunities, but many don't believe they have equal opportunities to do so compared to men, a PwC survey has found.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPOREAN women desire international mobility opportunities, but many don't believe they have equal opportunities to do so compared to men, a PwC survey has found.

The survey was launched in conjunction with International Women's Day on March 8, with the participation of almost 4,000 professionals, of whom 104 were from Singapore.

It revealed that 69 per cent of women in Singapore find employers that offer mobility opportunities more attractive, but that 17 per cent do not believe men and women have equal opportunities to undertake international assignments at their current employer.

Overall, the survey finds that Singaporean women value international experience more than their global counterparts, with 71 per cent of Singaporean women indicating that international experience is critical to attracting and keeping them with an employer, versus 64 per cent globally.

This is supported by PwC's prior research conducted in 2015, where it found that 82 per cent of female millennials in Singapore want to work outside their home country during their career.

The latest survey highlights critical diversity disconnects, whereby there is an unprecedented level of female demand for mobility, but this demand is not yet being reflected by companies.

More than half (57 per cent) of executives with responsibilities for global mobility surveyed responded that female employees are underrepresented in their mobility populations.

This inequity is similarly felt by women, with only 56 per cent agreeing that their organisation has enough female role models with successful international assignment experience. This compares with the almost 80 per cent of women who agreed that their organisation has enough male role models.

"CEOs must drive an agenda where women are both aware of, and provided with, the critical experiences required to progress their career, including international assignment opportunities," said Karen Loon, diversity leader at PwC Singapore.

"Global mobility, diversity and talent management strategies must be connected to support the successful realisation of international business and people strategies," she added.

With female millennials entering the workforce in larger numbers and with higher educational qualifications than previous generations, PwC warns that employers cannot afford to miss out on this significant and growing talent pool.

graceso@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 7, 2016.
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