Photo - John Henderson, Regional Director, Regus.
Flexible working is supporting Malaysian women's march into senior management and board positions with 42 percent of businesses reporting that, today, they have more than one woman at board level, according to the latest survey from global workspace provider Regus.
This is a marked increase from 30 percent two years ago, said Regus's regional director, John Henderson, who said that "while women are still more likely than men to have to combine their professional lives with looking after the home and family, and 37 percent of respondents globally say they have no women at board level, this latest study suggests Malaysia is a haven for female workers, where women are not represented at board level in only 33 percent of businesses."
Regus's survey, which gathered opinions from more than 20,000 senior executives and business owners across 95 countries, also found that in Malaysia, 49 percent of respondents agree that the number of women at board level in their sector is increasing.
Henderson said that one driving force behind getting more women in executive roles is flexible working. Research from Catalyst, an NGO devoted to the development of inclusive work environments, confirms more women aspire to reach senior level at companies that offer flexible working, compared with those at companies that don't.
"With the International Monetary Fund [IMF] reporting that a 70 per cent increase in female employment can increase per capita gross domestic product by 5 per cent, it is more important than ever for companies to encourage women to break through the glass ceiling," he said.
"It's not surprising that more and more women see flexible working as a key enabler for their executive level ambitions, and while we are seeing a global increase in the number of women taking up top jobs, proactive businesses that address this issue will undoubtedly reap the financial rewards of a happier and more engaged female workforce," he said.
Other results from the survey include:
- Only 4 percent of respondents think the number of women at board level is decreasing in their sector;
- 40 percent of businesses had no women at board level two years ago.
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