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Women in Business Report

Philippines has most women in senior positions

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines topped a list of 32 countries with the highest number of women executives holding senior management positions, improving four places from last year. 

Grant Thornton International’s 2020 Women in Business report showed the Philippines had 43 percent of Filipino women executives in senior management positions, up from last year’s 37 percent when it ranked fifth out of 35 countries. 

Other countries in the top five of the Women in Business report are South Africa, Poland, Mexico and Indonesia. 

Taking the last spot, meanwhile, is Japan. 

The report showed for 2020, the Philippines’ three-year moving average is at 42 percent. 

Results presented by the report are based on a survey of 4,812 respondents globally.

The report showed the top three roles of Filipino women executives are chief finance officer (CFO) at 38 percent of Philippine businesses surveyed, human resources (HR) director at 36 percent, and chief operating officer (COO) at 23 percent. 

Last year, the top three positions were HR director (52 percent), CFO (45 percent), and COO (37 percent).

“We are seeing that the most significant roles in business operations – strategy, finance, and people – are being held by women. The percentages have decreased this year, and it is interesting to note that women are holding these same three roles. We hope to see more women step up into the CEO or managing director role in the future,” P&A Grant Thornton chairperson and CEO Marivic Españo said. 

The report showed businesses are stepping up efforts to increase gender diversity with 94 percent of Philippine firms taking steps to remove barriers to gender parity at senior levels. 

In particular, Philippine companies are ensuring equal access to developmental work opportunities (36 percent), and enabling flexible working, reviewing recruitment approaches, and providing mentoring and coaching (all three of which are at 33 percent).

Asked which aspects of diversity businesses measure, survey respondents cited the percentage of female employees by management level and the average salary for key management levels by gender (both at 30 percent), and the average time in management levels by gender (26 percent).

In terms of steps to create an inclusive culture, businesses said their most senior leaders asked female workers what it’s like to work at the company and how it can improve (40 percent), as well as encouraged colleagues to speak up with ideas and issues and recommended others in senior management to serve as role models or champions for women (both at 39 percent).

While the number of businesses implementing initiatives for developmental opportunities (34 percent), creating an inclusive culture (34 percent), and flexible working (31 percent), have all seen an increase, the report said progress for women representation in senior leadership posts has stalled with women holding 29 percent of top management posts globally, unchanged from last year. 


As published in The Philippine Star, dated 24 February 2020