Women and men in Asia are both very ambitious about career advancement, but more women than men complain about a lack of workplace flexibility, according to a recent Catalyst report.
The report, called Expanding Work-Life Perspectives: Talent Management In Asia, found that 67% of men agreed that their employers provided enough workplace flexibility to manage their work and personal obligations, while only 62% of women agreed with the statement.
However, the report by Catalyst — which surveyed approximately 1,800 high-potential employees working for U.S.-based or European-based global organizations in South Asia and South East Asia — reveals that a gap exists for both men and women when it comes to their work-life needs (90% said work-life balance was very important to them) and their current workplace flexibility options. In fact, for a whopping 82% of workers, workplace flexibility does not match actual needs.
“Work-life effectiveness in Asia has been relatively unexamined and is critical in a region that needs to develop talent to meet the demands of dynamic economic growth,” said Ilene H. Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst. “In India and China, where women’s economic and workforce participation is on the rise, tapping into women’s talents and finding the right work-life solutions directly impact the ability of companies to recruit, develop, and retain promising employees —enhancing workplace performance, the bottom line, and competitive advantage.”
The report shows that employees lower their ambitions of attaining more senior positions when their work-life needs aren’t met. Both men and women cited job pressures, stress on relationships, long hours and other work-life challenges as the main reasons for not aiming for a CEO or senior executive position in their careers. Not surprisingly, more women than men reported scaling back their career aspirations because of work-life balance issues. Overall, just 46% of women surveyed said they are aiming for the CEO role or a senior executive position, compared to 64% of men.
Catalyst also took a more in-depth look at men and women working in China, India and Singapore. It found that workers in these countries have varying focuses. For example, in China, workers expressed the highest levels of job focus compared to the other 8 countries surveyed, whereas in India and Singapore there is more of a dual focus on family and work.
“While respondents report similar experiences in terms of their work interests and goals, they do so in the context of different cultural values, expectations, and national policies,” write Laura Sabattini and Nancy M. Carter, the authors of the report. They add that looking at specific regions can help companies develop culturally-specific approaches to address their employees’ needs.
Category: Women in the World