Two-thirds of Singaporeans surveyed believe organisations do not do enough to help women move into senior management, according to a survey by recruiting experts Hays.

The survey was conducted on www.hays.com.sg in April and May and received 346 responses.

Sixty-two per cent of the respondents say organisations do not do enough to help women reach the top or that more could be done.

The remaining 38 per cent said organisations already do enough to help women into senior management.

Within most industries, there is a need to propel more women to senior management ranks.

Women are not only in the minority in traditionally male-dominated industries, like trading desks or on construction projects, they are also under-represented across the spectrum of Singapore’s senior management workforce.

From Hays’ experience, it is known that many women look for a new job because of inadequate career development and progression opportunities.

So a programme to assist women into senior management will not only expand the pool of talent internally with leadership potential, but it can also help improve staff retention rates.

According to Hays, organisations could take the following practical steps to help support women into senior management:

* Establish steering groups, active mentorships and coaching or networking programmes to allow women to discuss ideas, plan their career path, access career development and settle into new roles. 

* Train both male and female managers to value a diverse workforce and provide them with strategies to develop female staff into senior management roles.

* Develop a succession plan to identify up-and-coming people and opportunities for growth. This proves invaluable from both a career mapping perspective for employees, and also as a tool to allow an employer to quickly identify where team strengths and weaknesses lie.

* Utilise useful metrics to measure female representation in the business, ensuring that the number of women in senior management reflects the number of women employed overall.  Young women look for female role models in senior positions.

* Review work-life balance initiatives, such as telecommuting, since women typically remain primary caregivers. The widespread acceptance of telecommuting has only occurred in recent years, so while it will take time to see the effects in terms of helping more women into senior management, anecdotally it certainly seems to be a successful strategy.

* Maintain open communication with staff and do not make assumptions about an employee’s career path or workplace needs based on the person’s gender, family responsibilities or age.

* Consider how you engage with female employees on maternity leave. Keep in touch and consider that the transition back to work may be bumpy initially, but ask what you can do to smoothen the road. For example, how can you make it easier for breastfeeding mothers to return to work?