#IWD2020: Organisations can do more to support women
As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, let’s appreciate the women in our lives and at work too. Women continue to inspire us in our workplace. In our special IWD 2020 coverage, we speak to women leaders who share their thoughts and advice on how women can thrive and succeed at the workplace.
In this exclusive IWD feature, we speak to Joy Koh, Head of Consulting APAC at Alexander Mann Solutions to get her thoughts on the challenges and opportunities for women in the workplace, and her advice for women who aspires to be leaders. She will be speaking exclusively at the HR Tech Festival Asia in Singapore in 12-13 May.
With 20 years of experience in the industry, Koh partners with organisations to transform their talent acquisition and management strategies. She supports clients in their design of innovative, yet practical technology solutions to support their talent acquisition needs.
Tell us a little bit of yourself and your career so far
I am based in Singapore, and am the Head of Consulting (APAC) for Alexander Mann Solutions’, Consulting and Advisory practice. I began my career in talent attraction and management over 20 years ago, and my experience spans across agency, in-house, RPO and consulting environments. I specialise in delivering consulting, implementation and technology solutions, to regional and global clients.
What are the challenges that women face in the workforce today?
In our region, women in the workforce still experience challenges with pay equality, flexible working arrangements, gender bias, and accessibility.
Are we seeing enough women in leadership roles today? If not, why so?
Female CEOs are still the minority, globally. In the APAC region, 28% of senior management positions are held by women, according to research conducted by Catalyst.
What can be done to groom more women to take up leadership roles?
With organisations supporting female leadership programs, women can thrive by connecting with female mentors, and be more empowered to advocate for themselves professionally. Women also do not tend to follow a straight career-progression line, due to career breaks when starting or caring for families – and can often be passed over for career development opportunities. Organisations can support women by defining clearer development opportunities, and the steps required for internal mobility.
What are the challenges women leaders face especially in male dominated industries?
In our region, men still dominate technical sectors such as high tech and engineering. Traditional stereotypes discourage women from pursuing careers thought to be typically reserved for men. This then leads to a cycle of fewer women in the industry, thus deterring women from pursuing roles in that industry.
There’s still a gender pay gap in this region. What can be done to bridge the gap?
In many countries, life-events mean that a gender pay gap still exists. Marriage, parenting, and caring for the elderly – have historically impacted women’s careers more than men. Reviewing policies regarding maternity and paternity leave, re-skilling and up-skilling of women, and flexible working arrangements, are just a few ways organisations can ensure that women are supported, and therefore helping to reduce the gender pay gap.
What is your organization doing to address the issue of gender equality?
Our organisation ensures that the mechanisms are in place when attracting, screening, and hiring. For employees, we actively promote a very flexible working environment, and really empower our staff to work flexibly. (e.g. working remotely and flexible hours.)
How do you juggle between your career and family?
I am fortunate to have a very supportive family unit. While my role does involve regional and global travel, we make it work. I also ensure that weekends are focused on my son, and that I plan for holidays early.
What advice would you give to women who aspire to be leaders?
Find a mentor early in your career, invest in your relationships, and be yourself. Work-life balance can also be achieved if you plan ahead and manage expectations.
Could you briefly share what would you be speaking about at the Women In HR program at the HR Tech Festival Asia?
At the Women in HR program, I am on the panel discussing how companies can benefit by attracting and upskilling talent, especially women, with digital and stem skills.
Catch Joy Koh live as a speaker at the upcoming
International Women’s Day Features:
Possibilities endless for women in the workplace – Jeanne Achille, Founder and CEO of The Devon Group
We need to challenge stereotypes of women – Vivian Chua, Vice-President, Singapore Managing Director, HP
More needs to done to recognise women – Roselin Lee, Vice President of Human Resources, Shiseido Asia Pacific
Women should have equal access to leadership roles – Gladys Chun, Head of Legal, Compliance and Government Affairs, Lazada Group
Mentorship key to grooming women leaders – Giet Koh, Head of Account Management at Deliveroo Singapore