KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 (Bernama) -- Eighty-two per cent of women surveyed by PwC are confident in their ability to fulfil their career aspirations, and 73 per cent are actively seeking career advancement opportunities.
However, 42 per cent feel nervous about the impact starting a family might have on their career and 48 per cent of new mothers felt overlooked for promotions and special projects upon their return to work.
Only 51 per cent of women feel their employers are doing enough to improve gender diversity and 58 per cent identified greater transparency as the critical step employers can take.
To mark International Women's Day (IWD) on March 8, PwC surveyed over 3,600 professional women (aged 28-40) to find out about their career development experiences and aspirations.
The survey included respondents from employers across 27 industry sectors and from over 60 countries worldwide.
The report, 'Time to talk: what has to change for women at work', reveals that women are confident, ambitious and ready for what's next, but many don't trust what their employers are telling them about career development and promotion, or what helps or hurts their career.
Based on the survey, although chief executive officers recognise the importance of being transparent about their diversity and inclusion programmes to build trust, the message is not universal and strong enough.
This is because, 45 per cent of women believe an employee\'s diversity status (gender, ethnicity, age, sexual preference) can be a barrier to career progression in their organisation, and only 51 per cent of women agree that employers are doing enough to progress gender diversity.
To improve career development opportunities, women identified greater transparency (58 per cent) as the critical step employers can take.
This means offering staff a clear understanding of the expectations on both sides of the employment equation, including information about career progression and success, and open conversations with employees on where they stand and what is expected of them to advance.
Global chairman of PwC, Bob Moritz said leaders should focus on creating an environment where women and men can have open conversations, and where there is clarity on what it takes to progress.
"Additional actions are needed to drive change. It must go hand in hand with efforts to mitigate any unconscious biases and gender stereotypes that have traditionally impacted career success and progression in workplaces around the world," he added.
Meanwhile, PwC global diversity leader, Sharmila Karve said organisations could do a lot to help women progress and reach leadership positions.
"They can encourage more open career conversations, mitigate the impact of any potential unconscious biases in decisions related to career progression, and explicitly set uniform and transparent criteria by which employees are assessed," she added.
PwC highlighted three areas organisations should focus on to help women advance their career, which are transparency and trust, strategic support, and life, family care and work.