Women workers more resilient

2010-03-10 11:49

WOMEN in business are more resilient than men, a report released today showed.

“Resilience has been identified by corporate leaders globally as the most critical factor in helping businesses survive in tough economic times – and the good news for the fairer sex is that women are found to be more resilient than men,” the report said.

Research for “Women Leaders and Resilience: Perspectives from the C-Suite” was undertaken globally by consultancy Accenture.

The report showed that 71% of more than 500 corporate leaders surveyed in 20 countries believed that resilience, defined by Accenture as the ability to overcome challenges and turn them into opportunities, was a key capability in determining who to retain.

Within a South African context, 56% of respondents said women were very to extremely resilient and only 44% reported men as very, to extremely resilient.

Another encouraging finding for the South African market was that 80% more companies were preparing more women for senior management roles than in the last five years.

This was a 33% increase on 2005 figures, Accenture said.

The report also found that in South Africa, 40% more companies were preparing more women for senior management roles compared to last year.

It said 100% of South African companies surveyed were now providing career enhancing assignments to prepare women for leadership roles with 75% providing internal mentors to ensure this took place.

Commenting on the local results, Louise Temkin, senior executive: research for Accenture SA, said the findings of the report demonstrated that South African companies were committed to making a difference for women in the workplace.

The survey also asked respondents what actions their companies had taken to support women’s career development and almost five in 10 said they provided internal mentors or work-life balance programmes.

South Africa lagged behind the global trend of providing work-life balance programmes for women, with only 38% of the companies surveyed providing access to these programmes.

Respondents associated resilience and adaptability most frequently with seniority.

“They said senior managers are most resilient, followed by middle managers and, last, by employees below manager,” the report found.

“By providing high-performing women with a variety of experiences, including training, mentoring and ‘stretch’ roles, to increase their resilience and confidence to prepare them to succeed in senior leadership, leading organisations are ensuring a sustainable and motivated workforce for the future,” Temkin added.

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