The story still remains more or less the same when it comes to women in the workforce. LinkedIn’s Opportunity Index 2021 reveals that while 79 per cent women admit that hard work and diligence will help them overcome all barriers, 75 per cent feel that it is also important to have the same access to opportunities as men do in order to progress in life. Forty-one per cent of women professionals in APAC felt they get fewer opportunities than men when it comes to career development. An alarming 85 per cent of women in India admit that they lost out on promotions, increments or a good job offer because of their gender.
Interestingly, the study reveals that a good 69 per cent people in the APAC region accept that gender equality is important, but 43 per cent of the respondents feel that women and men are so different from each other that it would be impossible to bring about gender equality! The truth is that gender equality has its roots deep and firm within organisations of the APAC. Only a measly 23 per cent of working professionals feel that gender diversity is a priority in their organisation.
A significant 64 per cent felt that lack of time was a hurdle to pursuing opportunities in the Asia Pacific (APAC), while 59 per cent felt lack of skills were a hindrance. Fifty-five per cent said absence of guidance from their network and 54 per cent said lack of work experience prevented them from pursuing opportunities. A significant 34 per cent said that their gender itself was a huge hurdle.
While respondents admit that 39 per cent of their organisation’s workforce consists of women, only 30 per cent of senior roles are essayed by women. In China and Japan representation of women in senior posts is as less as 26 and 21 per cent respectively.
Sadly, 37 per cent women in APAC feel their compensation is lesser than that of men in their organisation. The figure is 44 per cent for Australia, 40 per cent in Japan, 40 per cent in Malaysia and 51 per cent in Singapore.
In India, 71 per cent women and 77 per cent mothers admit that it is a challenge to balance work and family. Unfortunately, 63 per cent women and 69 per cent admit to having faced discrimination at work because of their commitment to their family responsibilities.
No wonder, 43 per cent women seek employers who will treat them equally with men. Forty-two per cent want to shift to a rewarding career. It is good to note that 41 per cent wish to learn a new hard skill, while 40 per cent wish to master a new soft skill.
While 30 per cent women wish their organisations to offer maternity leaves, 22 per cent hope for programmes to ensure smooth transition during and post maternity leave. Twenty-one per cent seek extended maternity leaves and 18 per cent hope for serves for sick children. Seventeen per cent look for employers to provide inhouse or external childcare facilities.
The survey covered seven APAC nations — India, Australia, Singapore, China, Japan, Malaysia and Philippines.