More women in senior management roles in Malaysia

According to a latest report by recruiting experts Hays, Malaysia has overtaken Hong Kong when it comes to gender diversity in the workplace. Malaysia now trails  behind China with its increase in the number of women holding senior management roles.

The findings, revealed in the recruiter’s 2015 Hays Asia Salary Guide, show that 34% of management positions in Malaysia are held by women. This is up from 29% last year.

Across Asia Pacific, China holds the number one spot as the region’s diversity leader, with 36% of management roles, held by women. This figure compares favourably with the region’s average of 29%.

The countries listed with the percentage of management positions held by women, rank as follows:

  1. China – 36%, unchanged year-on-year
  2. Malaysia- 34%, up from 29% in 2014
  3. Hong Kong – 31%, down from 33% in 2014
  4. Singapore - 27%, unchanged year-on-year
  5. Japan - 19%, up from 15% in 2014

In spite of the progress being made, Hays contends that gender diversity remains a business critical issue, especially with Japan still falling behind in diversity support.

Christine Wright (pictured), managing director of Hays in Asia commented that workplace needs to embrace flexible working practices and highlight female role models. Further, organisational policy improvements in support of gender diversity are required for an effective board backing for diversity issues.

Instead of implementing formal quotas, Wright noted the importance of cultural change to improve diversity. “One of the best practical measures is to put performance-related promotion policies in place. This ensures that people are promoted based on their performance alone. It also helps build a culture of meritocracy and helps to remove unconscious bias from the decision making process,” Wright added.

“If those in charge can’t make it happen, it might take the leadership of the next generation to action real change and close the gap between the number of male and female leaders," Wright said.

Read also: SapientNitro and UN Women push for greater diversity