By THE NATION
In practice however, attitudes are changing.
A 2019 survey by Ipsos reveals that globally, 75 per cent of respondents said they would be comfortable with having a female boss. At the same time, according to a 2018 IWG gender gap report, 69 per cent of upper middle management roles at International Workplace Group (IWG), the operating brand of Regus, Spaces, HQ, Signature and No 18 are occupied by women, and women represent close to half (41 per cent) of the top-paying roles at the company. The same goes for IWG in Thailand, where 70 per cent of all executive roles are occupied by women, spread out between three different co-working brands consisting of Regus, Spaces and HQ.
For chief customer officer Lorraine Veber and chief sales officer Fatima Koning, the reason for IWG’s success lies in its unique company culture in which diversity, flexibility and balance are core values.
“From the moment I stepped through the door, I was struck by the employee diversity. In the Barcelona office alone, almost 40 languages are spoken. It was such a pleasant surprise – I knew I’d joined a company that shared my own values,” said Fatima.
As a boss, she has made a conscious effort to continue the legacy. “I believe in diversity and the impact of diverse teams on performance. It is my mission to build teams with this outlook and giving female leaders a fair chance to step up. I’ve definitely had a chance to achieve this while working for IWG,” she said.
“It would be great if every single female leader out there commits to supporting the career development of another talented female professional. Women must help other women grow.”
With IWG’s recent Global Workspace Survey concluding that 83 per cent of professionals would turn down a job without flexible working, it is within the company’s mission to promote flexibility and fairness at work.
Lars Wittig, the IWG vice president of sales for Asean, Taiwan and South Korea, said: “As technology is truly enabling flexibility, it’s about time we make use of it and let our people work flexibly. If a boss gives employees the time and space to get their home life totally under control, it fosters loyalty, job satisfaction and ultimately the kind of employee productivity that drives results.
“At IWG, we promote equality and fairness for everyone at all levels of our business. We recognise that gender and cultural diversity is important in creating a strong and sustainable business, and so we are working hard to create an environment which is desirable for everyone. We have a strong track record on equality initiatives, and these are embedded within our HR and operational processes,” Wittig concluded.