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Best and worst places for women to get top jobs in SA

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

August is Women’s Month in South Africa and Grant Thornton’s Women in Business research for 2013 has ranked the country’s provinces and career paths in terms of which are most and least likely to take South African women into senior management positions.



The 2013 Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) which specifically focuses on women in business reveals that only 28% of top decision-making roles in South African businesses are filled by women, despite the fact that women make almost 40% of the total workforce.

When South Africa’s statistics are segmented by province, the survey highlighted that KZN (Durban and Pietermaritzburg) appears to be leading the way in the employment and promotion of women. The province boasts the highest proportion of women employees (44.6%), compared with just 36.1% in Gauteng (Pretoria and Johannesburg); 38.21% in Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth and East London); and 40.88% in W Cape (Cape Town and surrounds).

KZN also has the highest proportion of women in senior management positions (30%) ahead of Gauteng and the Eastern Cape with both provinces recording 27% in terms of female employees in senior executive positions. The Western Cape holds the least amount of women in senior positions, with just 25% of executive-level positions filled by women.

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“But it’s not all good news for women in KZN because the IBR 2013 research reveals that the province also has the highest proportion of businesses (28.6%) with no women in senior management positions at all. In the Eastern Cape, this number falls to 19%,” says Jeanette Hern, deputy CEO at Grant Thornton Johannesburg.  “Of the Gauteng and Western Cape businesses surveyed, 22.4% and 21% respectively also do not have any women at all in a senior management position.”

The IBR Women in Business research for 2013 indicates that a total 21% of SA businesses surveyed nationally have no women at all in senior management positions.

Women with their eye on the top job – CEO – might do well to consider moving to Gauteng where 14.3% of individuals holding this position are women. Gauteng also has the highest proportion (17%) of women directors and Chief Operating Officers – COOs - (19.6%) in the country.

On the other hand, women constitute just 5.5% of all CEOs and just 10.4% of directors in KZN.

Best career path

As a woman looking for a senior management position, which jobs are most likely to become available to you? Human Resources? Marketing?

Grant Thornton’s research reveals that neither of these careers are particularly favourable for women in terms of senior management positions.

Instead, the IBR survey has indicated that women account for the greatest proportion of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) – 32% - than any other senior management position in South Africa.

The Eastern Cape has the highest proportion (35%) of women CFOs, followed by Gauteng (32%), KZN (31%) and W Cape (30%).

It’s only in Gauteng where women in the position of HR directors account for a higher proportion than CFOs with 34% of privately held business women holding senior executive positions in Human Resources.

Best and worst places for women to get top jobs in SA


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Interestingly, the Eastern Cape also far outstrips the other provinces when it comes to appointing women Chief Information Officers (CIOs). Of all CIOs in the province, 8.3% are women, compared less than 2% in both Gauteng and W Cape and 3.6% in KZN.

Serious focus on women in senior executive positions is critical “When one considers all of these dismal statistics, it’s clear that we are still a long way from reaching the government’s target of ensuring that 50% of senior management positions are filled by women,” Hern says.

The Bill on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, which seeks to ensure a 50/50 representation of women in decision-making structures in both the private and public sectors, was approved earlier this year by Cabinet for public comment.

“With South Africa’s Bill on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment soon to hopefully become a reality, it is encouraging to note that nearly two thirds of respondents in Gauteng and Eastern Cape answered positively when asked whether they would support the introduction of quotas for the number of women on executive boards of large listed companies,” Hern continues.

In comparison, only 37% of businesses surveyed internationally support government-enforced quotas, despite the same dismal statistics prevailing globally, in terms of women in senior management positions.

However, when asked whether they had any plans to hire or promote more women into senior management over the next 12 months, most businesses throughout South Africa said no. Indeed, more than two thirds of respondents in KZN and W Cape said no, compared with just more than half in Gauteng.

Finally, the IBR survey revealed that Gauteng businesses are more likely to offer flexible working conditions that may enable women to better balance their numerous life roles. Over 60% of businesses in Gauteng offer flexible working conditions – for example flexi hours and flexi-locations - compared with just over 53% in Western Cape and Eastern Cape; and only 48% in KZN.

“The upcoming legislation and a willingness among business to support change in SA, however, are not enough to significantly increase numbers of women in senior roles.  There also needs to be a shift in the approach to hiring women and this should include additional programmes and incentives designed specifically to attract women into these decision-making roles. Most women often have numerous life roles and business must become more innovative,” Hern concludes.

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BEST

According to the IBR, the most likely route to the top for women is the Chief Finance Officer of a healthcare company in China.

•             Of businesses with women in senior management positions, the boardroom position most filled by women is Chief Finance Officer (31%).

•             The sector with the highest proportion of senior management roles occupied by women is healthcare (45%).

•             The country with the highest proportion of senior management roles filled by women China (51%).

WORST

In contrast, the research reveals that the route to the top least likely to be taken by women is the Chief Information Officer of a mining or construction company in Japan.

•             Of businesses with women in senior management positions, the boardroom position least filled by women is Chief Information Officer (6%).

•             The sectors with the lowest proportion of senior management roles occupied by women are construction and mining (each 19%).

•             The country with the lowest proportion of senior management roles occupied by women is Japan (7%).

http://www.internationalbusinessreport.com

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