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85% of businesses in Asia Pacific (APAC) countries have at least one woman in senior management, Grant Thornton’s latest Women in Business report has revealed. At the same time, just 28% of senior roles are held by women.
Titled “Women in business: Building a blueprint for action”, the report focused on gender diversity at the workplace and drew findings from 4,900 interviews and surveys conducted in November and December last year with chief executive officers (CEO), managing directors (MD), chairs, and other senior decision-makers from all industry sectors in mid-market businesses in 35 countries.
The research revealed the highest recorded proportion of women in senior management globally at 29%, a five percentage point increase from last year. This suggests a “more active, targeted approach to improving the situation”.
In fact, 2019 also marks the biggest increase in the proportion of women in executive roles around the world, a five percentage point increase from 24% in 2018. According to the report, it is the first time the proportion of women in senior leadership positions has exceeded one in four.
In terms of specific leadership roles globally, 43% of HR directors are women; 34% are chief finance officers; 20% are chief marketing officers; and 15% are chief executive officers or managing directors.
Overall, here’s how APAC and ASEAN fared:
When compared to the global average for the proportion of women in senior management (28%), ASEAN nations saw a drop from 39%.
However, ASEAN takes the lead regarding the number of businesses with at least one woman at executive level (94%), and APAC saw the greatest improvement with a 14 percentage point rise from 2018 (71%) to 2019 (85%).
On the other hand, the proportion of businesses with at least one woman in senior management in ASEAN is 94%, while the proportion of senior roles held by women is 28%, the same as APAC.
Results from Singapore
In more specific results, 87% of businesses polled in Singapore have at least one woman on the senior management team, an increase of 9% over the past year.
This is on par with the global average of 87% (with an increase of 12% over 2018) but below ASEAN’s 94%. Further, women now make up 33% of senior management team in the country, the highest it has ever been.
This is aligned with the upward global trend, where the proportion of women in senior management has risen 10% over the last 15 years globally, with half of the increase achieved over the last year alone.
On that note, despite the increase, gender parity in CEO roles is still significant. In fact, only 9% of businesses polled in Singapore have a woman CEO, lagging behind ASEAN’s 21% by a significant proportion.
At the same time, while HR represents the largest proportion of women in senior management roles in Singapore (41%), it has yet to translate to more women taking the top job.
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