China Ranks Top for Women's Proportion in Senior Management

A latest research from Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) reveals that 94% of businesses in China employ women in senior management roles. The proportion of women in senior management in China climbs to 51% from 25% in 2012, far above the global average of 21%, ranking top of the league table. The survey was conducted among 200 businesses in China.


Most in charge of HR and finance, expect to see increase in boards of directors


According to the report, female management in China still enjoy a significant edge in occupying the position of Director of Human Resources (81%) and CFO (61%), demonstrating women’s unique advantage in taking up such positions which particularly require skills as detail control and communication. Women occupy less in other positions, but still report an increase than last year. A quarter of CEO position is held by women this year, soaring from 9% in 2012.


The IBR data also reveals that women take up 21% of positions in board of directors, slightly above 19% of global average. Despite a relatively low proportion, up to 75% of businesses support the introduction of quotas for the number of women on boards of directors in listed companies with a hope of having more women in decision management.


“Last year, European Union proposed to launch regulations forcing listed companies to reserve at least 40 percent of their non-executive director board seats for women," says Xu Hua, CEO of Grant Thornton. "Despite a final decline of the proposal, how to get more women in boards have raised widespread concerns."


The IBR data shows that China businesses also call for improving the gender ratio with board members and more women would be expected to enter the boards. While currently, women still lack equal opportunities with men in various career opportunities. Businesses have to push women employees’ career development more systematically rather than simply imposing quota for the ratio.”


Mature economies lag behind in ratio of women in senior management roles

IBR data shows that globally, 24% of senior management roles are now filled by women. This is up from 21% in 2012 and 20% in 2011. However, the G7 economies come bottom of the league table with just 21% of senior roles occupied by women.


The USA (20%) and the UK (19%) rank eighth and seventh respectively from the bottom among the surveyed 44 economies. Japan reports of the least proportion of just 7%. This compares to 28% in the BRIC economies, 32% in South East Asia and 40% in the Baltic states.


“The pioneer economies where economic growth is high have greater diversity in their senior management teams. Women are playing a major role in driving the businesses’ growth, bringing balance to the decision making process and the smooth running of their companies," comments Xu.


The mature economies are experiencing low levels of growth, with GDP in Japan (1.9%), the UK (-0.1) and the USA (2.2%) in 2012. With the slow economic growth, businesses are more conservative in corporate decisions.


"Hope they could attach greater importance on women’s career development and add it to businesses’ long-term growth plans,” Xu notes.