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How to avoid female brain drain in Asia

Kirti Lad, Director of the Board Practice APAC and co-lead of the Women's Directorship Programme, discusses the issue of gender diversity in the workplace and shares her advice on how to prevent female

While Asian countries are making gradual progress in increasing the number of women in senior roles, there is still much more to be done. Companies need to recognise the importance of gender diversity for the business; and nations need to see it as an economic imperative.

What happens when countries fail to address gender diversity? The answer is women either stagnate in their existing roles with no opportunity for progression, or move abroad to secure the right roles.

How can businesses in rapidly growing markets, such as Asia, prevent this exodus of talent? 

Firstly they need to step up their efforts, not just in hiring women, but also in identifying, developing, nurturing, empowering and championing female talent. The steps to addressing this include:

Ensuring mentoring, sponsorship, coaching and networking opportunities are in place to         help advance executives' careers 
Creating environments that are fair regardless of gender, race or background
Ensuring there are strong female role models in the workplace
Encouraging men to be part of the fabric of any gender diversity initiatives
On-going training and development to keep the skills of the workforce current and relevant 

Too few companies in Asia are willing to give women the break they need, preferring to opt for the tried and tested route, for example selecting board members through their existing, male-dominated, networks. In Hong Kong, nine out of ten new board appointments in the past year went to men.

In today's globalised world, businesses need to take steps to unlock the potential of female talent before their competitors do. Maintaining the status quo on gender diversity, whether at the business level or on a larger national or regional scale, will only mean suffering the consequences of female talent brain drain.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

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