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Friday, June 2, 2023

Emirati women poised for corporate leadership roles

Eighty percent of women in the UAE workforce surveyed said that the opportunity to advance to top leadership positions is important to them, while 73 percent felt they had the opportunity to hold leadership positions in the workplace.

That’s according to a survey conducted by leading management consulting firm Kearney. 61% of women in the UAE workforce believe that having more women in leadership positions will have a positive impact on their organization, while 39% believe that the future top leader of their current organization will be a woman.

The research, conducted ahead of International Women’s Day 2023, explores the emotions, paths of advancement and challenges facing women in leadership positions.

The UAE has been named the region’s leading country for gender equality, with women making up 66 percent of public sector workers and 30 percent of leadership positions. Over the past decade, a number of policies supporting inclusion and diversity have come into play to advance the role of women in the workforce. Despite positive steps toward a fairer work environment across the country, private sector leaders still have work to do to pave the way for female talent, the survey shows.

81% of women surveyed said they struggled to get the support they need to take on leadership roles. When asked about workplace challenges, a quarter (25%) of women said their goals were too ambitious, 21% felt that the current organizational culture in the workplace discouraged them from leading, and 18% said They face discrimination from their colleagues.

“As part of our UAE Vision 2031 and the achievement of gender equality in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, the UAE is firmly committed to empowering women in the development of the local economy,” commented Partner Isabel Neiva. at Kearney Middle East and Africa.

“Policies and multiple national initiatives that promote an inclusive and balanced work environment are key to advancing women’s greater participation in the workforce and leadership positions. Business leaders in the private sector have a major role to play in supporting ambitious women as they climb the career ladder. Responsibility to provide women with relevant support and training to advance their careers and create opportunities for them to enter leadership positions.”

When asked how their organization supports their career development, only 26% claimed they receive regular training and development, and 22% said they had the opportunity for regular career assessments and/or promotions.

Having a leadership team truly committed to diversity and inclusion was flagged as a key priority by 81% of respondents (men and women), underscoring how current business leaders are accelerating progress towards a more diverse and equitable workplace 61% disclosed that their current organization has diversity, equity and inclusion goals, including increasing the number of women at board level, however, only 16% claimed these had been publicly announced. 27% felt the organization had no such goals, and 12% were unsure.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion have proven to be the pillars of success and provide the foundation for future growth of the organization. To accelerate the pace of change, a forward-thinking approach must be instilled starting at the top, the senior leadership team, and trickling down into the management team and workforce,” said Chiara Riffaldi, Kearney Middle East and Africa partner.

“Setting diversity goals and making a public statement is an important step toward enforcing accountability in the organization to ensure leadership teams are committed to recruiting and developing female talent and giving them the tools and opportunities they need to advance.” – trade arab news agency

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