Daily NewsView All News
Over 50% of female professionals in senior ranks and middle management have noticed increasingly positive attitudes amongst women towards career advancement, according to a new report by Heidrick & Struggles International. The recruiter criticised the lack of women in leadership in the country.
“As a member of WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD), Heidrick & Struggles has been at the forefront of advocating gender diversity in the workplace,” said Steve Mullinjer, Regional Leader of Heidrick & Struggles, Asia Pacific.
“We hope that the findings will draw public awareness to the importance of gender diversity in the workplace, as well as provide Korean companies with some guidance on what types of diversity programs Korean women executives prefer.”
The South Korean economy is now the third largest in Asia and the 13th biggest in the world. Organisations in Korea seem to realise the importance of gender diversity, albeit slowly. However, South Korea still has the lowest percentage of female representation on boards in the Asia Pacific region, and is among the key countries with the highest demand for gender diversity programs.
According to the survey, over 50% believe that women are just as ambitious about their careers as men. In addition, more than a third said that women are equally assertive when contending for top management positions, and a third are open to travelling and relocating themselves domestically or internationally for work. Yet, a staggering 83% said there are invisible barriers to their upward progression, while nearly 60% said that there is a general lack of faith in the professional competence of women in Korea.
The recruiter said that strong cultural barriers, gender discrimination and societal pressure often prevent women from moving up in their careers. Compared to other countries in Asia Pacific, women in Korea face greater pressure to leave their jobs and raise their children once they have a family. 70% of the women surveyed said that females in senior management positions find it hard to maintain a balance between their family life and professional requirements, as long hours is the norm in Korea's work environment.
In addition, over half of the women executives in the survey say that they and their peers lack the necessary networking skills to integrate into male executives' networks. Jaeho Kim from Heidrick & Struggles, said “Korean enterprises should build diverse workforces and inclusive workplaces through appropriate diversity programs, as they can positively enhance business performance, brand perception and employee engagement, and further strengthen their competitiveness in the global arena.”