More Filipinas are holding senior business roles in the country in step with the rise of powerful women globally, according to the latest survey by Grant Thornton.

In the Philippines, 40 percent of senior roles are held by women in 2017. This has increased from 39 percent of last year. Additionally, the survey reports that 21 percent of businesses have women CEOs while 14 percent have women COOs.

Grant Thornton released the annual survey Grant Thornton’s report, Women in Business: New perspectives on risk and reward in time for the International Women’s month.

The survey, which covers 5,500 businesses in 36 economies, highlights the importance of gender diversity in senior teams tasked with managing risk.

It also revealed that the proportion of senior business roles held by women in APAC has risen from 23 percent in 2016 to 25 percent in 2017.

According to the survey, the growth in women’s roles in business has been driven by improvement in Emerging APAC – such as the Philippines, India, and Indonesia – which saw the proportion of senior roles held by women rise from 26 percent in 2016 to 29 percent in 2017.

On the other hand, developed APAC – comprised of Japan and Australia, among others – remained static at 13 percent.

Meanwhile, other APAC countries have also seen a rise in senior positions held by women.

Indonesia has seen an increase from 36 percent last year to 46 percent this year. In Singapore, the number has gone up as well from 26 percent to 30 percent while mainland China saw a rise from 30 percent to 31 percent.

However, there are other countries that have seen either a decline or static in number such as Japan which has remained unchanged at 7 percent while

Malaysia dropped to 24 percent from last year’s 26 percent. Also, the percentage of businesses with no women in senior management across APAC has also risen, from 31 percent in 2016 to 35 percent in 2017.

Marivic Españo, chairperson & CEO at P&A Grant Thornton, said: “This year businesses across APAC have increased the proportion of senior roles held by women.

However, we are still only halfway there, and with the percentage of businesses with no women in senior management also rising it feels as if we’re taking one step forward and one step back. This is a real concern for business growth as it suggests we aren’t maximizing the potential out there.”

Globally, Grant Thornton’s data shows developing regions continue to lead the change on diversity with developed economies lagging behind.

Eastern Europe performs best, with 38 percent of senior roles held by women in 2017 and just 9 percent of businesses with no women in senior management. Meanwhile the MINT economies (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) saw the most improvement, with the proportion of senior roles held by women rising from 24 percent in 2016 to 28 percent in 2017 and the percentage of businesses with no women in senior management falling from 36 percent in 2016 to 27 percent in 2017.

This is a significant contrast to the major economies of the G7, which have remained constant at 22 percent of senior roles held by women and 39 percent of businesses with no women in senior management.

Españo commented: “The data for major economies is discouraging. The reasons for this lack of progress are many and varied, and they depend on the culture of individual businesses and the broader culture of the country or region in which they sit.

“However, this year we encountered a concerning sense that the issue has plateaued, as companies perhaps assume the diversity challenge has been dealt with. The evidence tells us this is not the case.

“Companies today need to be more productive, more innovative and in many ways more open if they are to grow. Diversity will be key to their success. Those that remain closed are putting themselves at risk of not tapping in to their full potential, and losing access to diversity of thinking,” said Espano.

P&A Grant Thornton is a leading professional services firm with a proven track record of high-quality work. P&A Grant Thornton provides value-added services to clients through a client-caring team of audit, tax and business professionals who utilize leading-edge systems and technology and are guided by the highest standards of quality, integrity and competence.


As published in Manila Bulletin, dated 08 March 2017