Women on brink of top roles less confident about skills

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OTHERWISE-QUALIFIED women rate their skills with less confidence when asked to consider leadership roles, according to a study conducted by the Makati Business Club (MBC) and the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE).

According to the Women in the Philippine C-Suite Report 2019, launched Thursday, some 95.1% of 103 female respondents expressed confidence in their skills, education and leadership potential, but their self-rating of their suitability fell when asked to consider making preparatory moves for a career upgrade (88.4%) or immediate elevation to a top role (70.4%).

The corresponding confidence levels of male respondents who thought themselves qualified declined less drastically when asked to consider preparatory assignments for leadership roles as well as immediate appointments, the study found.

Among respondents without children, women were more confident about taking on leadership roles immediately (56%) than men (44%) but among respondents with children, male respondents were far more confident about taking on immediate leadership roles (65%) compared with women (35%).

“Timing is apparently crucial for women, especially when we recognize that aside from work, they also need to anticipate, plan, and prepare for their child-bearing and child-rearing years or when prioritizing having a family. Such decisions can mean a step back in career, but it is also an important milestone for the employee as a mother/woman,” according to the report.

The study surveyed 201 executives in middle and senior management as well as human resource managers from 129 companies.

Confidence was one of four factors identified as affecting the respondents’ career decisions. Others were family concerns; gender stereotypes and biases in company culture; and prevailing stereotypes in the wider community.

When asked if society should be more accepting of men managing households and women taking on top roles, only 20% of women and 19% of men disagreed.

The report recommended that companies encourage women to transition to higher roles while allowing both men and women to balance family and work, while providing mentors, offering opportunities for women to network, and customizing career development plans of high-potential employees.

It also backed expanded paternity leave, childcare facilities; flexible work hours for all employees; comprehensive compensation packages; and initiatives to broaden gender inclusion and diversity.

The report was funded by the Philippine Women’s Economic Network, in partnership with PBCWE. — Janina C. Lim