GIBS survey reveals perception of less gender prejudice in the workplace by 2015

Posted on August 12, 2011

  • Currently 70% of respondents believe that women are not progressing as fast as men
• Mentorship in the workplace viewed as critical in developing women’s strengths A recent survey by the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) has revealed that an overwhelming 82% of respondents have confidence that young women graduating from university in the next four years will fare better than their older counterparts. The survey forms part of research undertaken by the Centre for Leadership and Dialogue at GIBS to look into the perceptions of gender issues in the workplace in South Africa. The Constitution of South Africa in conjunction with the Freedom Charter affords a country free of sexual or gender discrimination. This survey asked current students and alumni of GIBS Academic and CL&D programmes to rate the degree to which this vision has been realised in the South African workplace. The majority of respondents (70%) still believe that women in SA organisations don’t advance at the same rate as men. Likewise when asked about influence and power in the workplace, only 30% currently believe that women hold the same degree of influence and power as men. Importantly mentorship played a critical role in the development of the middle to senior managers surveyed (78%). Interestingly the majority (55%) of those surveyed do not believe that it is imperative that women must master male-oriented codes of doing business. Furthermore, women’s negotiating skills are on the up with 73% of respondents believing that they can successfully negotiate a desired outcome. Sixty-seven percent of respondents also agree that organisations are more sensitive to the different needs of both men and women. Phyllis Byars, senior manager of the GIBS Centre for Leadership and Dialogue said: “The perception that women are not progressing as fast as men is still very relevant in the workplace. Our first step in addressing this imbalance is to be aware that existing systems are not necessarily serving women’s needs as well as men’s. “As we look to the future, however, the outlook is incredibly positive as the majority of respondents believe there will be less gender prejudice in the work place by 2015,” concludes Byars.

The survey was completed by 463 individuals in middle to senior management positions.

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