More fun for career women in PH–report
By Doris C. Dumlao
It’s more fun for women climbing the corporate ladder in the Philippines than in most other places in the world: More Filipino women are taking on leadership positions in business and more of them enjoy flexible work arrangements.
This, according to the Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR) released on Friday by its local member firm Punongbayan & Araullo (P&A).
From 35 percent in 2011, the ratio of Filipino women in top corporate positions rose to 39 percent, making the Philippines second only to Russia, along with Thailand and Botswana, on the list of countries with a growing number of women joining the “C-suite.”
The “C-suite” refers to executives belonging to a corporation’s senior management team and is so called because these people usually have a “C” in their official titles, such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief finance officer, chief investment officer or chief information officer.
“The result of the study shows that top posts in the country are accessible to men and women equally,” said Marivic Españo, P&A managing partner and CEO.
The survey looked into the roles women play in senior management and found that as in most Philippine households, women leaders end up with responsibilities involving finance. This year, 64 percent of Filipino women in senior management were either chief finance officers or were in senior finance positions, up from last year’s 54 percent, the study said.
The Grant Thornton International Business Report provides insight into the views and expectations of 12,000 businesses across 40 economies. This unique annual survey draws upon 20 years of trend data for most European participants and nine years for many non-European economies.
The latest data were drawn from interviews with 6,000 businesses across the globe conducted between November 2011 and February 2012. The target respondents were chief executive officers, managing directors, chair or other senior executives primarily across five sectors: manufacturing (25 percent), services (25 percent), retail (15 percent) and construction (10 percent), with the remaining 25 percent spread across all sectors.
For the first time, the IBR asked respondents if they offered flexible work arrangements. Sixty-six percent of Philippine businesses polled answered yes, above the global average of 52 percent and the Southeast Asian average of 53 percent.
“This is one way of encouraging women to aim for the top, especially those who have to balance their career with motherhood,” Españo said.
But the global picture isn’t looking very rosy as the same study showed that the proportion of women holding senior management posts has been on a steady decline in all major regions of the world except Europe since 2009.
Results from 2011 and 2012 in the Southeast Asian region showed that although the number of women in top management positions remained above the global average, only the Philippines and Vietnam recorded an uptick in numbers from the past year.
“When we started tracking women in leadership posts in emerging markets such as BRIC (referring to the fast-growing emerging market bloc Brazil-Russia-India-China) and the ones in Southeast Asia, it was very encouraging to see that these dynamic economies were leading the pack in terms of welcoming women in the boardroom,” Españo said. “So it is a point of concern to see the proportion of women business leaders shrinking in these countries. Hopefully this doesn’t signal a further drop in the coming years to the point where women are underrepresented globally.”
Added Españo: “The falling numbers globally should alert business leaders and get them to start asking why women aren&r
squo;t at present at the top of the ladder and what can be done about it. Hopefully, we can find more ways to open up those C-suite posts to women and continue to be a good example of gender equality here in the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian) region.”
(As published in Philippine Daily Inquirer and Inquirer.net. Articles about this particular IBR result also appeared in Philstar.com, BusinessWorld Online, Asia News Network, Philippine Star, Yahoo! News, Sunstar Manila, US News Las Vegas, Interaksyon, and Rappler, 10 March 2012.)