HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Large firms at risk of losing 30% of female employees and managers: study

This could result in losses of US$500,000 per senior leader.

Large companies in Hong Kong with over 500 employees are at risk of losing, on average, 30% of their female talent over the course of their careers (from 52% total workforce female representation to 22% at senior management level) resulting in a loss of more than US$500,000, on average, per senior leader, a study by The University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Business and Economics (HKU FBE) and Meraki Executive Search & Consulting revealed.

“Nine out of every 10 Hong Kong women report barriers to reaching their career aspirations. From a lack of promotional opportunities in their companies/industries and not being recognised and valued, to the burden of family commitments,” said Kirti Lad, executive director, Meraki Executive Search & Consulting.

Large organisations employing more than 500 people in Hong Kong face the largest loss of female talent at the top level. Large companies have an average of 22% women at senior management level, compared to small organisations (employing less than 50 people) with 61% female senior management representation. “Smaller companies in Hong Kong attract senior female talent who require greater flexibility and time.” Lad said.

Overall, Hong Kong companies can lose up to 24% of their female employees over the course of their careers, representing a huge opportunity cost (from 53% total workforce female representation to 29% at senior management level).

Prof. Haipeng Shen, associate dean for executive education at the University of Hong Kong, added, “At The University of Hong Kong, we see 54% women at the undergraduate level, yet despite the abundance of talent in Hong Kong, this study shows the female representation at senior management level in companies across the city, stands at only 29%. Companies benefit from the wealth of talent on offer in Hong Kong at the entry to mid-level management, only to slowly lose female talent through the ranks as they drop out of the workforce, or seek greater flexibility and environments where their contribution is valued.”

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