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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  27 Sep 2012

WOMEN IN BUSINESS: Study Shows 5 Biggest Issues Holding SA Business Women Back

 





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85% of South African business women speak up about tough issues in the workplace – but only 50% report positive outcomes after doing so. Research undertaken by The Human Edge into the 5 toughest issues facing women in business has delivered these – and other - fascinating insights into the struggles faced by women in the business environment.

Clinical Psychologist and leading corporate trainer Helene Vermaak says that the study indicates that 4 out of 10 South African women leave a crucial work related conversation feeling disengaged. Vermaak says that open dialogue around a high-stake or stressful topic is crucial. “By being able to engage in a crucial conversation, people are able to make quality decisions and work together on the decision,” she says. “This is not happening nearly enough in the South African environment with 10% of women feeling compelled to leave their jobs after unsuccessful dialogue”.

Key insights delivered by the study, completed following a significant local interest in global research conducted by The Human Edge partner VitalSmarts in 2011 include the five toughest issues business women in South Africa are facing today:
1. Holding a salary-related discussion
2. Negotiating limits when asked to do more than is reasonably possible
3. Not receiving support from female colleagues
4. Holding a performance-related discussion
5. Advocating for equality in payment and/or promotions between female and male employees

Vermaak says that by comparison, VitalSmarts’ research revealed that the most difficult conversation women have in the global workplace deals with their workload - which is one of the main reasons that 1 in 5 women leave their jobs.

The Human Edge felt that considering the legacy issues which shape South African society, it would be important to gain insights into whether women across different race groups experienced the same problems. “These results were very interesting, with each group facing a totally different hurdle in their workplace,” says Helene.
• Black women – working with someone who doesn’t believe that a black female should or could hold the position
• Asian women – Negotiating to be assigned greater responsibility or a special project
• Mixed race women – Not receiving support from female colleagues
• White women – negotiating limits when asked to do more than is reasonable or possible.

Vermaak concludes that the issues facing South African business women are not vastly different from those facing women globally and stresses the need for decision-makers to address these issues so as to ensure that these highly-talented women remain in the working environment. “The risk taken by employers who do not pay attention to these crucial conversations, is that women will take their sought-after skills into other earning areas, exacerbating the current skills shortage.”


 
 
 
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