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Hong Kong has been overtaken by Malaysia when it comes to the number of women in management


Updated: 01 Mar 2015

Hong Kong has taken a step backwards when it comes to gender diversity in the workplace, says recruiting experts Hays. According to Hays, Hong Kong has been overtaken by Malaysia when it comes to the number of women in senior management roles.

The news comes in advance of International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March.

The findings, revealed in the recruiter’s 2015 Hays Asia Salary Guide, show that 31 per cent of management positions in Hong Kong are held by women. This is down from 33 per cent last year.

Across Asia, Hays found that China remains the region’s diversity leader, with 36 per cent of management roles held by women. This figure is unchanged year-on-year and compares favourably with the Asian average of 29 per cent.

China was followed by Malaysia (34 per cent, up from 29 per cent last year), Hong Kong (31 per cent, down from 33 per cent last year), and Singapore (27 per cent, unchanged year-on-year). Japan is still falling behind in the diversity stakes, with women in the country filling just 19 per cent of management positions. Critically, this is up from 15 per cent one year prior.

According to Hays, although progress is being made gender diversity remains a business critical issue.

“It seems remarkable in this day and age, given all the research espousing the benefits of a gender diverse workforce, that women are not equally represented in leadership positions, and supported and encouraged to reach their career goals,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia.

“‘Make It Happen’ is the International Women’s Day 2015 theme, which calls for greater gender equality.

“To do that, there still needs to be more workplaces that embrace flexible working practices, highlight female role models, change organisational policy in support of gender diversity, and give better board backing for diversity issues.

“Interestingly, the dialogue about how to achieve gender diversity in the upper echelons of management has turned away from quotas, with most people now saying that implementing quotas would not make real change happen. Instead, cultural change and practical measures are the agreed solution over formal quotas.

“One of the best practical measures is to put performance-related promotion policies in place. This ensures that people are promoted based on their performance alone. It also helps build a culture of meritocracy and helps to remove unconscious bias from the decision making process.

“If those in charge can’t make it happen, it might take the leadership of the next generation to action real change and close the gap between the number of male and female leaders.

“We will continue to monitor this trend in future years and see how quickly organisations develop (or fail to develop) female talent at the management level.”

Get your copy of the 2015 Hays Asia Salary Guide, by visiting, contacting your local Hays office or downloading The Hays Salary Guide 2015 iPhone app from iTunes.

Hays is located in Hong Kong at Unit 5803-7, The Centre, 99 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong. Phone +852 2521 8884 or email

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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For further information please contact Lucy Sharp, Regional Head of Marketing at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9885 or


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