KUALA LUMPUR: Grant Thornton International Ltd, a global professional services network discovered that only 17% of businesses in Malaysia have a woman in the role of chief executive officer or managing director.
In its latest Women in Business research, it was found that the percentage of women holding senior leadership positions in Malaysia also dropped to 23% from 28% recorded in March 2018.
16% of the respondents in their research cited the lack of access to developmental work opportunities and caring responsibilities outside work as the barriers in reaching senior management level.
Additionally, 14% of respondents said finding the time alongside core job responsibilities was also a hurdle for them to overcome on their route to executive roles.
Commenting on the findings, Grant Thornton Malaysia country managing partner Datuk NK Jasani said in a statement that there should be more support in place for working women, especially when it came to aiding them in their caring responsibilities outside work, as most had to leave the workforce to care for their young children.
The survey showed that in line with the positive overall progress recorded, 63% of businesses in Malaysia were taking deliberate action to improve gender diversity.
Grant Thornton said 26% of local businesses provided mentoring and coaching for women, while 25% of companies were implementing flexible working hours to assist them.
The survey said 95% of businesses in the country had at least one woman in senior management level this year, a 15% increase from 2018.