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How tech companies are retaining female talent in Asia Pacific (Part 2)

Nurdianah Md Nur
Nurdianah Md Nur • 7 min read
How tech companies are retaining female talent in Asia Pacific (Part 2)
To close the gender gap, companies need to have a holistic retention and advancement strategy for their female talent. Photo: Pexels
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LinkedIn’s latest research reveals that the labour market worldwide has transitioned from robust  (with three job posts per two applicants) to weak (with only one job post per two applicants). This has affected the global hiring of female leaders and led to a 2% decline in the representation of women in leadership roles. 

However, Singapore’s good support systems, like affordable healthcare, are helping women stay ambitious even when jobs are scarce. Case in point: The proportion of female applicants for leadership roles has increased by 8% despite the global labour market downturn, according to LinkedIn.

Besides hiring, organisations also need a holistic strategy to retain and help women advance in their career in order to close the gender gap. Leaders from the tech and related sectors share what their companies are doing in that aspect.

Andy Sim, vice president and managing director for Singapore, Dell Technologies:

To enable female leaders to thrive, we must support them at every step of their career journey. With our ESG goal that by 2030, 50% of our global workforce and 40% of our people leaders will be women, Dell Technologies is primarily focused on attracting, building, developing and retaining a diverse workforce through an inclusive culture.

For example, with Dell Technologies at the helm, we are working with industry partners to uplift female leaders through initiatives like MentorConnect, a cross-company mentorship programme designed to guide and empower the career development of female professionals in technology, and to promote best practices among participating companies in Singapore. The programme was led by Dell’s Women in Action Employee Resource Group, formed to enable women to grow and thrive in their careers at Dell, and to foster an inclusive mindset. We look forward to nurturing more female leaders in the tech industry and beyond.

See also: How tech companies are retaining female talent in Asia Pacific

Janice Lee, vice president of Human Resources, GlobalFoundries:

At GlobalFoundries (GF) Singapore, we believe in equal opportunities, driven by meritocracy, and our HR policies ensure transparent promotion pathways that are not age, race or gender-based.

We undertake regular pay equity assessments to minimise gender gaps and ensure competitive compensation packages for our employees. Our culture of equity starts from the top – our people managers undergo comprehensive training on inclusive leadership, from identifying and eliminating unconscious biases to effective communication strategies.

See also: What does it mean for every company to be an AI company?

 Our family-friendly policies also support women balancing work and life commitments, such as flexible work arrangements, 20 paid weeks of maternity leave, and multiple lactation facilities across our site. GF GLOBALWOMEN, our largest employee resource group worldwide, serves as a dedicated support network for women, and most importantly, provides sponsorship and mentoring opportunities by other women in GF.

Notably, 34% of the GF Singapore workforce are female, with several even receiving awards in the global STEM arena.

Rachna Sampayo, group vice president of Human Resources for Japan & Asia Pacific, Oracle:

Oracle has been making a powerful impact with its global development programme, Oracle Women Leadership (OWL), with a mission to engage and empower current and future generations of women leaders at Oracle. We work together to enhance leadership and professional development skills, strengthen employees’ professional networks and improve organisational awareness as well as foster an inclusive workplace that empowers women leaders.

With 117 communities around the world including Asia Pacific, OWL connects women with inspirational mentors and gives them the tools they need to grow into more specialised and leadership roles. While the number of women in tech across Asia is higher than the global average, women in the region are still significantly underrepresented in the corporate pipeline. Everyone has a role to play in gender equality by challenging the status quo through advocacy, inclusive mindsets, and tangible action.

Pooja Sanan, head of Sales for Southeast Asia, PayPal:

Inclusion is a core value of PayPal’s business and culture. Globally, we encourage and develop strong communities that bring people together in fulfilling ways.

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Unity is our Global employee resource group which drives gender equity across the organisation. In Asia Pacific, Unity organises women-focused knowledge-sharing sessions, encouraging participation in industry events, and championing career development initiatives. PayPal cultivates an environment where everyone can express their full selves and fulfil their highest potential.

Research shows that effective sponsorship is a crucial element in helping women develop their careers and advance into leadership positions. As part of my personal career progression path, I have benefitted from PayPal’s Unity Sales Sponsorship Program. This global PayPal-wide initiative is specially designed to accelerate the careers of women leaders. Professional development programme led by an external coach, which includes training and development, networking, and sponsorship by a senior leader within the organisation.

In addition, PayPal’s dedicated learning and development culture has allowed me to grow into my present sales leadership role based on the different roles I’ve held in Asia Pacific within the organisation. Lateral transfer opportunities within the organisation have allowed female leaders such as myself to build an in-depth knowledge of our business, understand our customer needs and mentor successful teams.

Marjet Andriesse, senior vice president and GM for Apac, Japan and Greater China, Red Hat: 

Fostering female talent is very dear to me. As leaders, we need to ensure female employees have access to mentorships, sponsorships, and professional development tools. I am a firm believer that building a bank of highly visible and active female role models can bring in a strong positive influence to an organisation.

At Red Hat, we take pride in providing an equal opportunity work environment. Sponsorship and mentorship programmes — such as our Women’s Leadership Community, Apac Leadership Expansion Program and our Engineering Leadership Accelerator — are some of the avenues for women at Red Hat to foster leadership skills.

I am proud to share that in my Apac sales team we have more women leading the sales function at the country level and in my leadership team, the Finance and Accounting function are led by two remarkable women. In a nutshell, there is no silver bullet to solve this issue but it's essential to empower women to confidently share their abilities and strengths to support their progression into leadership positions.

Verena Siow, president and managing director for Southeast Asia, SAP:

In SAP Southeast Asia (Sea), our commitment to a sustainable future extends to fostering an inclusive environment for female professionals. Today, our SAP mentorship programme facilitates direct access to senior executives, enabling knowledge exchange and professional guidance. One way I contribute is to actively mentor young female talents and aspiring managers, propelling them toward leadership roles.

Additionally, the SAP '35under35' leadership programme is a strategic initiative cultivating the next generation of diverse and standout leaders. This programme not only champions innovation but also aligns with SAP's leadership ethos. Through these targeted efforts, we actively support women's ascent to leadership positions, contributing to growth, innovation, and societal impact in Sea. Our dedication to inclusivity in SAP Sea creates a workplace that celebrates diversity and empowers all employees to 'Accelerate to Innovate' and reach their full potential.

Shveta Bhardwaj, head of Sustainability Services & Solutions, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS):

At TCS, we believe in cultivating a supportive culture that values emotional intelligence, compassion and sensitivity. We empower women in their journey towards leadership positions through upskilling, training, mentoring, and transparent promotion processes.

Our Contextual Masters Programme celebrates employees who have built deep knowledge on the job and recognises them as pivotal to Asia Pacific’s growth. Customised offerings are designed to support every woman at every juncture of her career – this includes clear succession plans, and strong career development programmes, with the goal of propelling them toward leadership roles. Over the last 5 years, we have seen a 60% increase in senior female executives in TCS globally and have been included in the 2022 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.

In my role as the APAC Head of Sustainability Services, I am committed to advancing initiatives at the intersection of gender inclusion and sustainability, ensuring every woman has opportunities to lead and succeed.

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