Women advancing in business faster in emerging markets


Are you an educated businesswoman seeking advancement based an your experience and accomplishments? Don’t look at working in the US when it comes to a senior management role. You might be better off working in China or Southeast Asia.

According to new research from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (a survey of 6,600 business leaders in 44 countries), more women are advancing into senior management positions globally than at any time since 2010, but progress is slower in the G7 group of developed economies.

IBR data reveals that 24% of senior management roles globally are now filled by women, up from 21 percent last year and 20 percent in 2011. However, the G7 economies cite just 21% of senior roles occupied by women, compared to 28% in the BRIC economies and 32% in Southeast Asia. The US ranks in the bottom eight performing countries for women in senior management at 20%, along with Japan at 7% and the United Kingdom at 19%.

Strangely enough, these same economies are also experiencing low levels of GDP growth: Japan (1.9%), the UK (-0.1%) and the US (2.2%) modest in 2012. In comparison, China ranks as the top country for women in senior management at 51%, while GDP growth for 2013 there is projected to be between 7-8%. The top 10 performing countries include the growth economies of Latvia, Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines.

Says Erica O’Malley, Grant Thornton’s national managing partner of Diversity & Inclusion, “It’s imperative that businesses in developed economies emulate their emerging market counterparts and reap the benefits of having more women in senior positions.”

The situation is even starker for women obtaining boardroom positions. In the G7, just 16% of board members are women, the same percentage as in the US. This compares to 26% in the BRIC economies. Fifty-five percent of businesses worldwide, and 62% in the US, said they would be against quotas for the number of women on executive boards of large listed companies.

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