SG50 Champions of Change

Till Vestring

Bain & Company South East Asia

Improving gender diversity in top management and on boards feels like an obvious opportunity for most organisations; yet despite much hand wringing and many public commitments, the stats show that improvement is painfully slow to come by.  Much research has been done on why the percentage of women in leadership roles remains so stubbornly low even in organisation where a similar number of men and women enter the ranks every year (the ‘great disappearing act’’ as one of my colleagues call it).  

Change needs to start at the top and undoubtedly CEOs and other senior leaders need to devote more personal time and attention to this topic if they want their organisations to improve.  Based on research Bain published last year, senior leader need to create a workplace where employees of both genders believe women can progress to senior levels.  

Ultimately, actions speak louder than words and it’s about the actual track record of the leader in appointing women to, and sponsoring them in, leadership roles which makes all the difference.  The Bain research shows quite clearly that such role modelling from the top is far more important than anything any training or support that organisations provide for women.  Straight forward perhaps, but as we all know, the hardest thing is to change behaviours, especially of those at the top of organisations!