Women business leaders still in minority in Malaysia

SINGAPORE, March 7 (Bernama) -- Nine in 10 (91 per cent) of Malaysian employees believe that there should be a gender balance in workplace leadership teams, yet only half (51 per cent) say their companies have managed to achieve this goal.

These were some of the findings in the latest Randstad Workmonitor Report for Quarter 1, 2013 released ahead of International Women's Day.

In the global survey of 14,780 employees from 32 countries, the belief that gender balance is important was higher in Malaysia compared to respondents in the region such as in Australia (89 per cent), China (87 per cent), Hong Kong (87 per cent) and New Zealand (88 per cent).

Director of Randstad Malaysia, Jasmin Kaur, said while this shows Malaysian employees' progressive attitudes, the reality is that workplaces are not keeping up with expectations.

"A lack of opportunity still exists for females to take top leadership and management roles, despite the rising level of education among women and their significant contribution to the workplace.

"Encouraging women to advance their career to a leadership position will bring a different mindset and point of view to the table, which can drive better performance at the workplace," said Kaur.

The survey of 405 Malaysian employees also found that almost two-thirds (64 per cent) agreed that the proposal for a quota forcing companies to promote more women into leadership positions would work as a lever to get more women into these roles.

Ultimately, she said, it should be up to employers to actively seek to close this gap by encouraging more women into management positions.

She said this can be done by adopting measures such as providing training, development and coaching opportunities to support female employees on their career trajectory.

"Yet what we're hearing from Malaysian employees is that they're not seeing enough action. Implementing a quota, even if it is on a company by company level, will demonstrate to employees that businesses are serious about this issue," she said.

The survey also found that Malaysian employees are more likely to aspire to a leadership position (83 per cent) than Singaporean (69 per cent), Australian (56 per cent) and Japanese (34 per cent) employees.

The Randstad Workmonitor was launched in the Netherlands in 2003 and now covers 32 countries around the world, encompassing Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

The Randstad Workmonitor is published four times a year, making both local and global trends in mobility regularly visible over time.

The Workmonitor Mobility Index, which tracks employee confidence and captures expectations surrounding the likelihood of changing employers within a six-month time frame, provides a comprehensive understanding of job market sentiments and employee trends.