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Glass ceiling

Breaking the glass ceiling

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Wani Azahar notes on career progression, pay negotiation and stretch assignments for women in the workplace.

You’re thinking: “Is this it? Is this all?” as you sit in your chair staring back at the work that’s on your desk. Sure, you love your job – but you are thirsty for more. A lot of buzz was raised on gender equality with the celebration of Equal Pay Day this year on 10 April. For starters, the Lean In – Fintech Asia event, in partnership with Willis Towers Watson and attended by Human Resources, saw a few concerns when it comes to women in the workforce.

First, the proportion of female employees decreases with each career advancement – from 50% of women making the supervisor role to only 29% making the senior group manager role as we climb up the career ladder.

On that note, Willis Towers Watson’s practice leader for global data services, Kar Ning Ho, also unveiled results of a survey of more than 400 companies on the gender pay gap in Singapore, sharing that women earn about 25% less than their male counterparts.

In fact, with 37.9% citing that asking for a raise makes them most uncomfortable, while a close 36.4% feel uncomfortable asking for a promotion, Lee Nallalingham, head of talent solutions at Stirling Andersen, shared a checklist on pay negotiation that not only women, but men alike can refer to:

  • How do you know if you are underpaid?
  • What is a fair offer?
  • How does paying you more benefit the organ
  • isation?
  • Do you have another offer?

But building the confidence all starts with networking, Nallalingham commented – and this is something I can’t agree more with. Sharing her sentiment, Claudia Cadena, founder and principal consultant at Thread Advisory, highlighted: “Not only leaders can reach a glass ceiling. Anyone who is not actively improving their skills and enhancing their knowledge and abilities will eventually reach a glass ceiling and will have issues advancing their careers.”

Being an introvert and female, I’ve always been encouraged to get out there, shake hands and make friends with industry players. The more exposed I was, the more informed I got, and the more confident I was to participate in such stirring conversations. Of course, this proved to be beneficial as I picked the brains of the movers and shakers of the HR industry to create relevant articles in the magazine.

So yes, just as it’s time to break the glass ceiling in HR, it is also time to break out of your shell.

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