One-third of female employees in Singapore (32%) believe their management team would prefer to promote a male candidate over an equally-capable female candidate.

This worrying belief is prevalent across Asia Pacific, where in Robert Walters' new whitepaper, more than half of women employees (52%), among a pool of 4,400 respondents in total, blamed this preferential trend for fewer women in leadership roles.

Indeed, four in five women across Asia Pacific (80%) attest to women being under-represented in leadership positions, a finding echoed by 75% of Singapore-based respondents. However, just 59% of male respondents across APAC shared this view, perhaps pointing to the heart of the issue.

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The whitepaper, titled Empowering Women In The Workplace, identified the top three reasons why women feel they continue to remain under-represented, and the above preferential treatment topped the list.

The second reason? Family pressures or commitments outside of work, said half of women (50%) as well as male (51%) respondents. The third most cited reason held the employer directly responsible - a workplace culture that does not actively foster diversity, inclusion and equality.

Robert Walters infographic on gender diversity

So what's to be done to improve the situation and make gender diversity a non-issue? More than 70% of female respondents across Asia Pacific (71%), including Singapore (79%), asked for mentoring or sponsorship at senior management levels.

More than two in five regionally also called out for personalised training programmes (48%); formal leadership training sponsored by the employer (46%); as well as internal networking opportunities through meeting the senior management more often (44%).

Robert Walters infographic on how to improve gender diversity

 

Lead photo / 123RF