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People In Asia Don’t Want Female Bosses

Despite countless campaigns, seminars and movements pushing for more gender equality in the workplace, there are many places in the world where businesses are still dominated by men as compared to women.

Workplaces in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia have a long way to go in achieving gender equality.

It is a known, and unfortunate, fact that women face discrimination, biases and challenges at work.

While these are problems that women also face in the United States and countries in Western Europe, they are especially prevalent in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Unlike countries in the west, Asian countries rarely address these issues. Furthermore, as per findings from a study by Randstad Workmonitor, employees in these regions simply prefer to have a male boss over a female boss.

Randstad Workmonitor’s research measured the preferences employees have for a direct manager in their workplace.

Globally 65 percent of respondents said they preferred a male boss. In Hong Kong the number is 78 percent, with Singapore following close behind at 76 percent and Malaysia at 73 percent.

The study also looked at Japan and Greece, where a whopping 80 percent of respondents said they preferred a male boss over a female boss.

Another interesting finding is that even female respondents declared a strong preference for a male supervisor over a female one. The study found that 74 percent of women in Singapore, 74 percent of women in Hong Kong and 63 percent of women in Malaysia preferred a male boss over a female boss. This compares to the global average for female preference of 58 percent.

Despite numerous reports highlighting the huge pay gap between genders, 79 percent of employees all over the world felt that men and women who had the same job were rewarded equally. This perception was especially strong in Asia, with 81 percent of respondents in Singapore, 81 percent of respondents in Hong Kong and 83 percent of respondents in Malaysia echoing this sentiment.

Michael Smith, the managing director for Randstad Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, expressed his concern over these disparaging results.

The results show a worrying trend in this region with such strong preferences for having male bosses in the workplace, despite open discussions around the issue of gender equality going on around the world. Corporate and government initiatives are just a start, but for real change to take place, the issues around gender equality need to be recognized and mindsets need to evolve. As a staunch supporter of gender equality in the workplace, I expected to see these sentiments slowly change for the better over the coming years as traditional family structures, where the notion of men being the sole family breadwinner is dominant, are starting to be challenged in the region.”

Published by

Michelle Tan - Senior Consultant, Sandbox Advisors

Michelle has years of experience as a multi-lingual lecturer/trainer and has worked with clients such as Marina Bay Sands, Resorts World Sentosa, Comfort Transportation and Nanyang Technological University. She has attained an impressive array of academic qualifications, including a Master of Science in Industrial Psychology and Management, Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics, Professional Diploma for Teachers and Trainers, Associate Degree in Japanese Linguistics & Culture, and a Diploma in Mass Communication.

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