Thailand #1 Worldwide When It Comes To Women In Senior Management Positions

Another proof of the power of Thai women in business circles is demonstrated through 2011 Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) survey, which shows that Thailand boasts the greatest percentage of women in senior management titles (45 per cent) in privately held businesses.

Across the world, Thailand is followed by Georgia (40 per cent), Russia (36 per cent), Hong Kong and the Philippines (both 35 per cent). The countries with the lowest percentages are India, the United Arab Emirates and Japan where fewer than 10 per cent of senior management positions are held by women. Women currently hold 20 per cent of senior management positions globally, down from 24 per cent in 2009, and up just 1 per cent from 2004. The percentage of private businesses that have no women in their senior management has risen to 38 per cent compared to 35 per cent in 2009.

“Thailand’s working culture provides equal opportunity to both men and women to reach senior management levels. Companies committed to diversifying their leadership mostly ensure that women have equal shots at ‘stretch’ assignments such as serving on company-wide task forces, being part of a start-up or turnaround operations, and gaining international experience. Top women emphasise their love of their jobs, and the hard work it took to get there. They ask for the challenging assignment. They are totally committed,” said Achara Boonyahansa, Business Development director of Grant Thornton Thailand.

The data revealed that G7 countries lag behind the global average with only 16 per cent of women holding senior roles whilst, regionally, Asia Pacific (excl. Japan) scores highest with 27 per cent. Women have become most successful in increasing their share of senior management roles in Thailand, Hong Kong, Greece, Belgium and Botswana, where the percentage of women in these roles has risen by at least 7 per cent since 2009.

“Being single or getting married late could be causes for Thai women being able to climb up corporate ladders. They are more likely to put in extra hours at work. Moreover, for married ones, they own the ability to balance work with their personal lives, with support from extended family to take care of their children. Employers also play supporting role by including work-life programmes in organizations such as maternity and childbirth leave, flexible work schedules, job-sharing, part-time work, compressed work weeks, and reduced duties, all of which offer women the flexibility to manage home-work conflicts as best suits them, while maintaining productivity levels. In some cases, guarantees are offered to individuals to safeguard their position or level of seniority and the continuation of their health and other benefits. In addition, companies often offer programmes such as satellite workplace, which utilise new technologies to enable employees to work from home for at least some part of their working week,” Achara said.

Of the companies that employ women in senior managerial positions globally, 22 per cent employ them in financial positions (eg Chief Financial Officer/Finance Director). This is followed by Human Resource Director (20 per cent), Chief Marketing Officer and Sales Director (both 9 per cent).

Globally just 8 per cent of companies with women in senior managerial positions have a female Chief Executive Officer (CEO). However the story is different in Asian economies, Thailand leads the way with 30 per cent of companies employing female CEOs, followed by mainland China (19 per cent), Taiwan (18 per cent) and Vietnam (16 per cent).

Source: The Nation