Women In Asia Climb Up Work Ladder At Leading Banks, Firms - Study

Tom Burroughes Group Editor 22 September 2014

Women In Asia Climb Up Work Ladder At Leading Banks, Firms - Study

Women in six Asia economies are increasingly represented in the workforce of top businesses such as global banks; there are widening gaps in performance between these jurisdictions.

Women in six Asia economies – China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore – are increasingly represented in the workforce of top businesses such as global banks, including in leadership roles, but there are widening gaps between performance between these jurisdictions, a survey shows.

The most noticeable advances by women have taken place in China and Malaysia, while India and Japan are among the laggards, according to the Gender Diversity Benchmark For Asia 2014 study, issued by lead sponsor Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The study was carried out by Community Business, a non-profit organisation looking at corporate responsibility issues.

The survey, based on data from 32 organisations as at the end of December last year, included banks and financial institutions such as ANZ, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; BlackRock, Commonwealth Bank; Citi; Deutsche Bank; Goldman Sachs; JP Morgan; Linklaters; Macquarie Bank; Morgan Stanley; National Australia Bank; Nomura, Royal Bank of Scotland and State Street.

It has been remarked many times over that representation of women in wealth management must rise particularly if firms are to be more successful in attracting more female clients.

In the case of Singapore, home to many private banks and wealth management firms, 48.2 per cent of roles, across all employment grades, are held by women. Malaysia has the highest representation, at 58.1 per cent, while India has the lowest, at 26.6 per cent. In terms of senior-level roles, China is top, at 35.6 per cent, followed by Malaysia at 34 per cent. India is again the lowest, at 10.6 per cent. Among junior roles, China has the highest representation, 64.9 per cent (the report did not state if this data was skewed by China’s notorious one-child policy, which has been blamed for an imbalance of males).

“Overall, we are pleased to see some signs of real progress in this latest study. Of course, much more needs to be done and performance varies across the region. Women continue to be under-represented at senior levels in organisations and we need to continue to address this,” he said.

Among the findings was the point that policies and programmes at firms don’t automatically boost female representation, as has been the case in Japan, or, on the other hand, in Malaysia, where companies offer the shortest maternity leave.

The report was also sponsored by Google and Brown-Forman.

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