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Time and time again it has been proven that more diverse organisations not only outperform those which are less diverse, but are also most likely to attract and retain the most talented professionals. That's why at Hays, we are dedicated to building awareness around gender diversity in the workplace.


In compiling this report and recommendations, Hays spoke to over 11,500 women and men, asking their opinion and views on women in the world of work today. Malaysia women ranked the top in the region for ambition, with 28% of women in Malaysia believing they need to reach the most senior levels, MD or CEO, in order to feel successful in their careers. This compares to 17% in Japan, 14% in China, 12% in Singapore, 11% in the UK and Australia. The survey also found that there is a significant difference in female and male ambition for leadership roles.

“While we have seen slight improvements in perceptions of equal pay and career opportunities year on year, in many cases employers are still not doing enough to narrow the gender divide in the workplace. Many would argue that progress towards workplace gender equality is hindered by the lack of people, more often than not men, who fail to see any problem,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia.

“Given that most people in senior leadership roles are still men, it’s difficult to see how gender parity can be accelerated when many of those in positions of influence do not see any inequality to begin with," Christine adds.

"Being able to promote one's achievements is a key part of career development and reaching such roles. Employers should ensure opportunities are communicated to all and recognise and draw out the skills and ambitions of those around them.”

Of the respondents in Malaysia:

  • 79 per cent of men think there is equal pay between genders compared to 66 per cent of women.
  • 87 per cent of men said the same career opportunities are open to equally capable colleagues regardless of gender compared to 59 per cent of women.
  • 89 per cent of all respondents, both men and women, said the most senior person within their organisation is male and 59 per cent said that their line manager is also male.
  • Female and male ambition for leadership roles differs vastly, with 68 per cent of women and 85 per cent of men aspiring to reach a top leadership position in their career.
  • Yet almost the same amount, 42 per cent of women and 45 per cent of men, feel there is the opportunity in their current role to promote themselves and communicate their career ambitions.
  • Meanwhile 58 per cent of all respondents said their organisation does not have formal gender diversity policies and practices in place.
  • Respondents said the top 3 most effective measures to improve gender diversity would be flexible working practices (34 per cent), a gender diversity policy (30 per cent) and board backing around gender diversity issues (29 per cent).
View the full report here