About 85% of businesses in Asia Pacific (APAC) countries have at least one woman in senior management, as per Grant Thornton’s latest Women in Business report.
The report titled “Women in business: Building a blueprint for action” drew its findings from 4,900 interviews and surveys conducted in November and December 2018 with chief executive officers, managing directors, chairs, and other senior decision-makers from all industry sectors in mid-market businesses in 35 countries.
The report also revealed that despite 85% of firms having female representation in senior management, just 28% of senior roles are held by women. Meanwhile, the highest recorded proportion of women in senior management globally stood at 29%, a five percentage point increase from last year, which suggests a “more active, targeted approach to improving the situation”.
Interestingly, 2019 also marks the biggest increase in the proportion of women in executive roles around the world, rising five percentage points from 24% in 2018, and making it the first time the proportion of women in senior leadership has exceeded one in four. However, globally the proportion of women in senior roles is still lying short of the 30% tipping point that is expected to open the gates to gender parity.
When it came to specific leadership roles globally, 43% of HR directors are women; 34% are chief finance officers; 20% are chief marketing officers, and 18% are chief operating officers.
Women in management in APAC
When compared to the global average for the proportion of women in senior management (28%), ASEAN nations saw a drop from 39%. However the region still takes a lead regarding the number of businesses with at least one woman at the executive level (94%), and APAC saw the greatest improvement with a 14 percentage point rise from 71% in 2018 to 85% in 2019.
While the report depicts a gradual rise, it also points out the fact that the biggest barrier for both men and women had been the difficulty of finding time to improve their employment skills alongside core job responsibilities. After job responsibilities, women cite being held back by a lack of access to developmental work opportunities – and this factor shows the biggest imbalance between the genders. Restricted networking opportunities and caring responsibilities outside work are the next most likely hurdles for women to have overcome on their route to executive roles-something that organizations need to ponder upon to encourage more women in the executive roles.
Image Credits: Grant Thornton