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The need for more senior female role models within today's organisations.

By Matt Hill in Hong Kong

The need for more senior female role models within today's organisations.

With almost 20 years’ recruitment experience, Matt Hill shares his thoughts on how to encourage more women into senior leadership roles:

As someone who has placed talented women in the heart of our business in Asia, I am extremely proud to support International Women’s Day.

 In Asia, men remain as very strong influences, holding the majority of positions of power in government, schools and business. For women to break through, there is often a cultural challenge, as well as a skills gap.

 I’d say that when you look at the majority of leadership positions, up to 80% of these are held by men – but the good news is that this is changing.

We specialise in recruiting Manager and Executive level roles in the region across several male-dominated functions, such as Supply Chain, Manufacturing and Engineering but increasingly are being spoken to by our clients about their desire to have more female leaders within their businesses and are being more proactive in their pursuit of this goal. It’s rare that I put forward a credible female candidate to a client and they are not interested in having at least a preliminary and exploratory conversation.

Within areas of Procurement and buying roles, we see a larger proportion of females in manager and leadership positions. It would seem due to a women’s more often increased emotional intelligence, they thrive within this environment with its focus on relationship building and negotiation. However, more work is still needed to increase the number of leaders within core Manufacturing and Engineering.

Progress is certainly being made, as our campaign in support of International Women’s day has shown, with an incredibly talented group of global senior female leaders taking the time to speak about their experiences.

However, we need more female role models like these not only in Asia but also globally, to inspire other women that they can reach the top in the future.  

Equally, having more female leaders  will allow more organisations to commercially enjoy the benefits of a more balanced approach inevitably taken, when both women and men are equally a part of key strategic business decisions.

I know from experience of talking to many women across Asia, that when they do make it, they have often had to work harder to prove themselves but as a result often have a greater level of self-confidence and are more self-aware.

Women are increasingly committed to their careers and are delaying starting families in pursuit of their own career goals but still face the inevitable challenges this brings culturally.

Further steps needs to be taken to make this easier for aspiring women, with the most progressive companies investing in better support for their women who chose both their career and also being a mother, through initiatives from flexible work and mentoring to affordable childcare and paid leave—designed to create a culture that allows all employees to flourish at home and at work.

I am personally very proud of the strong and capable females we have in our own business. For example, take Krystle Edwards, who progressed from being a senior consultant with Proco Group in 2012, to become Managing Director of the Hong Kong office this year. Or Lisa Finney, our current global top performer and who is one of only five Business Directors globally( our most senior role for our best client and candidate facing individuals) and works within our Food and Beverage practice, Asia Pacific. One of the other five is also female!

It is critical to me in running a successful business to have a balance of men and women in leadership roles. We hope that by showcasing the achievements of female leaders and discussing the issue, we can help to raise awareness and tackle the challenges.

What do you think? How is your business encouraging diversity?

Click here to see how we have celebrated a number of inspirational women working across the supply chain: www.procoglobal.com/iwd  

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