Lack of talent pipeline is holding back gender parity in Asian workplaces

Author: PM editorial | Date: 2 Feb 2016

”Under-representation of women around the world has become an economic and social travesty,” says report

Asia is predicted to have a worryingly low representation of professional women in 2025, according to Mercer’s When Women Thrive report.
 
It is currently just 25 per cent and is projected to rise only slightly to 28 per cent, based on current hiring, promotion, and retention rates.
 
A bright spot, says the report, is Latin America. It is the only region surveyed which is on track to reach gender parity by 2025. Australia and New Zealand are expected to reach 40 per cent, as are the USA and Canada, while Europe is expected to remain flat at 37 per cent.
 
“The traditional methods of advancing women aren’t moving the needle, and under-representation of women around the world has become an economic and social travesty,” says Pat Milligan, Mercer’s global leader of When Women Thrive.
 
Globally, women represent one-third of managers, 26 per cent of senior managers, and 20 per cent of executives.
 
The report found that while women are 1.5 times more likely than men to be hired at the executive level, they are also leaving those positions at 1.3 times the rate of men – undermining gains at the top.
 
“While organisations are focused on recruiting women at the top, they are not developing them from within with the same focus and that could threaten the progress they’ve made, unless they act now,” comments Julia Howes, principal at Mercer.
 
Organisations in Asia are least likely, compared with other regions, to be focused on many of the pillars of gender diversity uncovered by this research: the engagement of their middle managers (a focus of just 30 per cent of organisations in Asia) and their male employees (28 per cent); the adoption of a rigorous pay equity process (25 per cent); and the review of performance ratings by gender to look for adverse impact (20 per cent).
 
The USA and Canada lead on pay equity, with 40 per cent of organisations offering formal pay equity remediation processes, compared to 34 per cent globally, 25 per cent in Asia, and 28 per cent in Europe.
 
The research featured input from nearly 600 organisations around the world who together employ 3.2 million people, including 1.3 million women.