According to the World Bank, participation by women in the workforce in stands at 46%, which is low by international standards compared to neighbouring countries such as , and . What do you think are the reasons and how can organisations tackle this situation?
It is my view that the participation by women in the workforce in can be improved further if the support system can be improved to prevent their “leakage” from the employment system. The support system can include the following:
- The provision of child development or child care centre within the office facilities.
- Flexible working hours with certain core hours that women are required to be in office.
- Allowing them to work from home.
- Allowing women to take unpaid leave during the period when their children are growing and allowing them to re-enter the organization when they are ready.
- Giving women equal opportunity to raise in the corporate ladder.
Gender diversity has become a priority agenda item for policymakers and business leaders internationally. How can gender diversity add value to your organisation? How can it add or improve business and financial performance?
- Many International researches have shown that there is a direct correlation between gender diversity and the financial performance of companies. Based on a study done by McKinsey, they found that “companies with gender-balanced executive boardrooms are 56% more profitable than all male boards. They also found that companies with a third or more women on senior team have higher return on equity.”
- Based on an article in Business Times in July 2011, according to a catalyst survey, companies with three or more women on their Board of Directors, on the average generate an 83% higher return on equity, a 73% higher return on sales and 112% higher return on invested capital.
- A quote by Margaret Thatcher, “…………...if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a women”.
Does your organisation have any policy or KPIs emphasising on female talents? What systems or tools has your organisation put in place to attract women on career hiatus to rejoin the workforce?
Nowadays, flexible work arrangements (FWA) and support facilities are preferred by women with families. Does your organisation provide these? If yes, can you share more details on these? If not, can you share your and your organisation’s view on FWA and support facilities? Would you propose and implement any of the FWA or support facilities in your organisation? If you do, which will your management team support to take-up?
- No, at PLUS we do not have a formal policy or KPIs to emphasize on female talents as we have been practising equal opportunities for women to progress in their career based on meritocracy and this has resulted in an increase in the number of women in leadership or decision making positions over the years. Besides that we also have a Child Development Centre to support working mothers who have young children apart from conducive working environment.
- Today at PLUS 42.85% of the Boardroom seats are occupied by women. Total female workforce represents 52% of the total population in the organization whilst 28% of top and senior management positions and 36% of executive positions are held by female, despite the fact that we are in a business/industry that is male dominated.
What do you think are the key factors to encourage women to aspire to leadership and climb the career ladder? Can you share tools or systems that you have implemented successfully in-house that cater to leadership in women?
On the other hand, there are companies that have equal opportunity tools and systems in place. Despite these, barriers to opportunity may still exist due to women’s own issues and biases, for example lack of confidence to compete together with men for job progression and opportunities, or their impression that men will be favoured or chosen to lead. How does your organisation manage or dismantle these barriers? What can we do together to address this?
- In addition to the above other support system that can help address these issues are leadership commitment to gender diversity and mentoring.
Our Government has implemented policies and even provided funds and assistance to organisations in order to retain and call back women to re-join the workforce. In line with this objective, our Prime Minister has announced the Double Tax Incentive for compliant companies which will be launched in 2013, fund allocation and assistance for child care centres at organisations, a microsite to connect women with companies that have jobs with flexible work arrangements and support facilities, and other incentives are in the pipeline. What else can the government do to encourage companies to attract and retain women in the workforce?
- Better tax incentives for women on their personal income tax would be most welcomed.