78% of mid-market businesses globally are actively working on removing barriers to gender parity at senior levels, according to the latest research from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report.
In Singapore, businesses are boosting many initiatives to achieve gender diversity, with the number of initiatives such as flexible working (28%), creating an inclusive culture (31%), providing mentoring and coaching (27%) and ensuring developmental opportunities (30%) seeing an increase.
More businesses in Singapore are actively improving their gender balance, with a 5% drop in the number of firms not taking any initiatives to achieve gender diversity in 2020 compared to the previous year. However, despite the increase in these business initiatives, progress for the representation of women in overall senior leadership positions has declined slightly. Women currently hold 31% of senior leadership positions in Singapore – which is a 2% decrease year-on-year.
Sze Min Yu, Director of Audit and Assurance at Grant Thornton Singapore says: “We see very positive industry-wide developments in terms of mid-market businesses increasing their efforts not only in promoting leadership positions for women but also providing the tools and the necessary support to make that happen.”
With many mid-market businesses now focussing more on their efforts to boost equality, markets should start to see more women in leadership positions over the coming years as initiatives take hold and begin to show results.
From a regional perspective, ASEAN ranks number three in the top five regions in terms of the proportion of women in senior management. The region has seen impressive gains, with the percentage of women in senior management going up from 28% to 35%. In Singapore, the number of women in C-suite positions has also grown in 2020. The research has seen 2% more female CEOs, 4% more COOs and 9% more CFOs in comparison to 2019.
Additionally, there has been a positive trend amongst businesses with the number of organizations having no women in senior leadership decreasing. In 2020, only 10% of businesses in Singapore had no women in senior management, as compared to 36% in 2017, 22% in 2018 and 13% in 2019.