Friday , April 12 2024

Too few women at top positions in banks in Vietnam: IFC

Women are strongly represented in Vietnam’s banking sector, but are absent from many senior leadership positions, according to a new study.

Women make up 68% of employees at the 18 banks surveyed, but are overrepresented at the entry level, where they account for 60% of the workforce. They are also underrepresented in senior (33%) and top-level (26%) management roles, according to the study “Mind the gap: Getting more women into leadership in Vietnam’s banking sector” by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in partnership with the State Bank of Vietnam.

“While Vietnam is doing better than some other countries in terms of women in bank management, this report clearly shows more should be done to turn commitments into practical steps enabling women to move into leadership positions,” Thomas Jacobs, IFC country manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, said in a press release on Tuesday.

According to the study, women’s participation in the banking sector declines after middle management, with a 21-percentage point drop in the share of women between middle management (54%) and senior management (33%).

This is also reflected in terms of promotions. While there is an almost parity among women and men in promotions into middle management, women represent fewer than one-third of promotions into senior management.

Almost nine-in-10 employees reported that women and men have an equal chance of being recruited by their organizations.

However, women at all levels reported less access to all forms of training, development and career advancement opportunities.

They were 10 percentage points less likely than men to gain access to training and learning opportunities that would prepare them for their next role or access to critical career assignments.

The study also showed that while 80% of people felt safe at work, nearly one in five had witnessed bullying and one in ten had personally experienced bullying behavior, with similar responses among men and women.

Based on surveys of nearly 40,000 employees from banks as well as sit-down interviews with senior and middle bank managers, the study also showed women wanted better support for work-life balance.

Kim See Lim, IFC’s regional director for East Asia and the Pacific, said organizations with gender-balanced boards and leadership teams have better business performance, more innovation, more diverse teams, and better employee engagement than organizations that have few or no women in leadership.

According to Kim See Lim, organizations with more women at the top also pay greater attention to social, environmental, and governance considerations and transparency.

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