Thailand a leader in top promotions for women
The survey finds growing support for regulations around quotas to get women on to boards as well as several measures businesses can take to facilitate the career paths of women.
Globally the proportion of senior roles filled by women currently is 24 per cent. This is exactly the same proportion as in 2013, 2009 and 2007, and only 5 percentage points higher than the 19 per cent recorded 10 years ago in 2004 (IBR did not cover key economies such as Brazil, China and Indonesia that year). Regionally also, there has been very little significant change over the past decade.
Asean had strong representation, however, with three of its countries ranked in the top six in the world for having the highest number of women in executive roles. Indonesia (second at 41 per cent) and the Philippines (fourth at 40 per cent) were just marginally ahead of Thailand (sixth in the world at 38 per cent).
"In Thailand and in many places in Southeast Asia, it is not unusual for women to be in senior executive roles," said Sumalee Chokdeeanant, Grant Thornton assurance partner.
"Asia is a strongly family-orientated society and the female has always played a key role in the household, especially governing finances. Over time as business has grown, this has simply become the norm for us in Thailand. This is evidenced by a continuing growth trend of women in executive roles here.
"This will continue to expand through Asean as we see increased opportunities brought by the AEC (Asean Economic Community). This will result in a demand for more employees generally, and the need to continually increase diversity in the workplace."
The IBR also shows that support for the introduction of quotas to get more women on boards is growing. Globally, close to one in two business leaders (45 per cent) would now like to see quotas for the numbers of women on the boards of large listed companies, up from just over one in three (37 per cent) in 2013.
Support has grown sharply in the European Union (from 33 per cent to 41 per cent) where the imposition of quotas is most likely, but also in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies (41 per cent to 72 per cent), while support remains high in Latin America (68 per cent) and Asia-Pacific (57 per cent). Across the Group of Seven, however, only 33 per cent of business leaders support quotas. ■