Women in the Workplace in China

Shanghai Headquarters

According to a recent report, gender diversity is apparently on its way in China. However, the figures in this report are only overall statistics: female representation  varies hugely from one sector to another. In banking, finance, private equity, IT, energy, and electronic and manufacturing industries. There is a much higher percentage of males at senior level, such as C-suite, or sitting on boards.

In China, despite a growing amount of women entrepreneurs and female leadership, a majority of females remain very traditional and would rather devote their time and energy to their families. Business has yet to shake of its image as a realm for men thing across the globe, and this includes China. With childcare and other commitments placed on them, a large majority of women are not as available to go on business trips and work overtime compared to men.

Besides, we have to keep in mind than Senior Managements position involve a minimum of 15 years professional experience post-degree, so those Chinese women who are currently eligible to such high-level roles were educated in the 1990’s, a period when many of them were raised on a very traditional vision of life, where men go out to work and women keep house – just as it was in western countries too, decades ago.

Beside, back then, Chinese women were traditionally receiving an education leading to a more HR, legal or finance focused sector: there were really few or no women doing engineering, management or business studies. The Majority of C-Level roles in China at the moment recruit people with either a sales or technical background which historically was not a career path for women. As a consequence, high-level positions are usually male-led today, but this is changing with the new generation of Chinese.

The Majority of C-Level roles in China at the moment recruit people with either a sales or technical background which historically was not a career path for women.

As more women are educated in engineering and commercial functions, the C-Level representation of women will increase.Along with China development and internationalization, women attain a higher education level, and develop broader views on life and success, and higher ambitions. -Chinese females certainly now play an
important role in the workplace. Beside this, the market is changing dramatically too, and sectors and disciplines where women are highly represented at the management level, such as human resources, are just developing in China to a structure that would allow for C-level progression. The booming of the retail and
fashion industry, currently  leading to significant job creation for passionate and talented women, will have in a few years a new generation of high-level management – many of whom will be female.

Nevertheless, as of now, Chinese women, as strong and talented may be, may have to push forward and make more efforts than men to reach levels such as c-level, but this is mainly due to education and job market structure, which both evolved too rapidly: ambitious and career focused people, male or female, will find the best professional growth opportunities in this booming China market.

By Max Price, Partner at Antal International China

antalCourtesy of Antal International Executive Consultancy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *