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Close to three in four women in Singapore (73%) affirm it is important for them to get to the top of their chosen career, in PwC’s latest research, Staying Ahead of the Pack: What She Said.
However, employers are clear not doing enough to cultivate this pipeline, as just one in 10 respondents (10%) said they will stay with their current company in the long-term. The Singapore cut of the report is part of a global study of more than 3,600 working women (aged 28-40) across 27 industries.
That said, just over half of women in Singapore (51%) feel like their managers provide them work experiences for accelerated development opportunities, lower than the global average of 58%, and Asian average of 69%.
Additionally, 45% believe that their work demands interfere with their personal lives, pointing to the need for flexible working arrangements. However, there seems to a stigma attached to taking advantage of these, as 48% of the women respondents in Singapore they believe this has negative career consequences at their workplace.
The stigma seems worse for new mothers in Singapore, where 57% have said they were overlooked for career advancement opportunities, such as promotions, upon their return from maternity leave.
In light of these worries, are employers doing enough to ensure the transparency of their promotion and appraisal systems? Women respondents remain sceptical – three in five (60%) in Singapore believe that opportunities are equal, fair and go to the most deserving employee, compared to 65% globally and 74% in Asia.
About one in five believe that employers are biased towards men, particularly in developmental matters (23%) and promoting from within (21%). They also felt that their managers do not advocate on their behalf enough for opportunities, such as promotions (49%) or provide enough networking support (46%).
Yeoh Oon Jin, executive chairman, PwC Singapore, commented: “Leaders need to create an environment where women – and men – can have open conversations, and where there is clarity on what it takes to progress.
“But this greater transparency must also go hand in hand with efforts to mitigate unconscious biases and gender stereotypes that have traditionally impacted career success and progression in the workplace.”
Karen Loon, diversity leader, PwC Singapore, added: “In order to succeed, women need proactive networks of leaders and peers who will develop, promote and champion them at home and in the workplace. Role models and dedicated mentors and sponsors will work to underpin the self-advocacy women need to advance.”