Singapore boardrooms demand female involvement

Global trends are showing that female involvement in the boardroom is on the rise, but some regions are doing better than others.


The role that women play in shaping the future of the IT industry is slowly changing for the better. While the trend can be seen internationally, some regions are observing faster growth than others, leaving a few to play catch-up.

Southeast Asia is one of these areas, however, it is showing promising trends which could see it reach the same level of female involvement as global leaders.

According to Deloitte, part of this is due to the lack of policies that enforce a certain proportion of boards to be comprised of women, common in regions such as Scandinavia.

What is the state of the job market for female executives in Asia?

While there has been an observable increase in the number of women on boards throughout Southeast Asia, there is still plenty of opportunity for aspiring professionals to help this number rise. Deloitte found that this number doesn’t cross the 10 per cent mark in any of the countries included in the region, a worrying sign when countries like Norway are leading the way with 36.7 per cent.

The countries leading Deloitte’s report have policies or quotas designed to increase diversity in the boardroom, a feature that is missing from Singapore’s job market.

This could be something for businesses in the region to consider implementing to encourage interest in these areas, as currently only 9 per cent of board members are female. On top this, only 7 per cent of board leaders are women throughout Singaporean businesses.

Deloitte also found that the majority of boards (56.1 per cent) have no female representation, a fact that Assurance and Advisory partner Seah Gek Choo says needs to change.

“Board appointments should be by meritocracy, where an individual’s capability and fitness to serve on the board is the primary focus, irrespective of gender,” she said.

“However, there should be more platforms and opportunities for corporations to be exposed to these women candidates and not exclude them from the selection process in order for leasers of the highest calibre to be represented on boards.”

How are companies influencing diversity?

Lately, leaders throughout the tech industry have been making an effort to be transparent about diversity and their efforts to improve it. Google is just one of these examples, publishing annual reports that reflect their workforce.

According to the 2015 report, the majority of their workforce (70 per cent) is still male, a number that rises to 78 per cent in leadership positions. To combat this, the company has launched initiatives to encourage female participation from a young age, which it hopes will change the future of the IT workforce.