A recent study has identified three primary actions that companies must prioritise to promote a more gender-inclusive workplace: clear visibility of opportunities, flexibility in the workplace, and accessibility to these opportunities. Interestingly, a closer examination of the data underscores that age differences play a more significant role in shaping opinions than gender.
In a study titled Women in the Workplace conducted by the Asian-based tech travel company Agoda, findings show that while transparent visibility of opportunities is the top priority overall, there is a noticeable difference when looking at various age groups.
Only 38% of individuals aged 18-24 consider it a priority, compared to 49% of those over 55. Additionally, priorities vary among different genders, with non-binary respondents placing more emphasis on social inclusion, professional inclusion, and achieving balanced representation within senior leadership as their key empowerment priorities.
Eliana Carmel, Chief People Officer at Agoda says the findings are telling for employers looking to retain quality talent in Asia. “Creating a culture where people feel socially and professionally respected is paramount, Fairness in opportunity – both the ability to see what opportunities are available and having access to the tools or training to reach them comes through loud and clear from this study. For organisations looking to employ top talent clear career paths, goals and clarity of what success looks like are ever more important.”
Key actions for empowering gender inclusivity
1. Perceptions of the glass ceiling and gender discrimination
A significant proportion of respondents (46%) believe that a glass ceiling still persists for women in their respective markets. These views are more prevalent among respondents from Vietnam (63%), Thailand (56%), and Taiwan (53%), while people in the Philippines are least likely to agree, with only 27% holding this belief.
The survey also reveals variations based on gender, with fewer males and non-binary respondents (41%) acknowledging the existence of a glass ceiling compared to females (52%). Age groups also show differing beliefs, with a higher percentage of those aged 18-24 (53%) believing the glass ceiling still exists in contrast to 42% of respondents aged 45 and above.
2. Impact of gender discrimination
Interestingly, the 18-24 age group is more likely to have either experienced quitting their job due to gender discrimination or know someone who has. About 35% of individuals aged 18-24 have either personally quit or are aware of someone who has, while only 12% of those aged 55 and above report similar experiences.
3. Perceptions of workplace changes
The study reveals that nearly 70% of respondents believe that the workplace environment for women has improved over the past five years. Of this group, 41% perceive marginal improvements, while 28% observe significant changes. Only 8% of respondents feel that conditions have worsened.
A gender-based analysis indicates that 32% of men observe significant improvement, compared to 25% of women and 24% of non-binary respondents. Additionally, 42% of women perceive marginal improvement, in contrast to 39% of men and 37% of non-binary respondents.
Changes in Workplace Environment for Women Over the Last 5 Years
When examining specific markets, data indicates that Japan and South Korea are less likely to have witnessed improvements in the workplace environment for women. In these countries, 57% and 40% of respondents, respectively, perceive either no change or a worsening work environment. On the contrary, significant improvements over the past five years are perceived in the Philippines (44%), India (36%), Indonesia (36%), Vietnam (35%), and Thailand (28%).
The Value of Gender Balance
A significant majority of respondents (66%) across different markets consider balanced gender representation to be important, with an even higher percentage (71%) among those aged 18-24. The study reveals that balanced representation in leadership teams offers several benefits, including creating an inclusive work environment (70%), aiding in talent attraction and retention (63%), and enhancing business results (45%).
Eliana Carmel, Chief People Officer at Agoda, commented on the study's findings, emphasizing the importance of recognizing generational shifts in workplace inclusivity attitudes. She highlights the significance of building diverse leadership teams, particularly in terms of gender representation, for fostering inclusive environments, attracting talent, and driving business success in the ever-evolving Asian landscape. This study serves as a valuable resource for promoting workplace inclusivity and understanding generational differences in the workforce.