Expert Advice: Women in the business

Human resource veteran, Andrew Chan, founder/CEO of ACI HR Solutions, tackles five common career concerns among women in the business of hospitality and events

Andrew Chan

CONCERN 1: Long hours and frequent overseas work trips in the business events industry mean lesser time for the family or to start a family, and once child rearing begins, career advancement ends.
I believe that if one is working in the business events industry and is successful, then planning and time management is probably already a key strength of this individual. Longer hours and frequent travel can of course be taxing, and is not suited to everyone, irrespective of gender. However, those same perceived challenges are often the reason for joining the industry in the first place, where one can travel the globe and work with dynamic people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Andrew Chan

CONCERN 2: Running events, especially with onsite operations and all, is too physical for women.
I know a lot of physically fit and strong women that can probably outperform their male counterparts in many operational duties. And if they can’t, it’s all about appropriately assigning operational duties onsite by those managing the event. So, don’t let this be a hindrance in any way!

CONCERN 3: The business events industry does not pay well in comparison to others and to make things worse, a glass ceiling applies to women in Asian companies.
Pay scale would of course be relative to which other industries this was being compared to. Based on our annual Salary Report, the events industry compares relatively well within the broader tourism landscape.  And we certainly don’t see a glass ceiling in the Asian region for women. On the contrary, we actually see a greater number of women leaders running highly successful companies as well as taking charge at a broader level in associations and government bodies.

CONCERN 4: Women are seen as being naturally inclined towards their family and have to work even harder than her male peers to “prove herself” at work.
Perhaps there were some truths to this in the past, although I see the gender
gap narrowing significantly, both in compensation and rank, especially in the MICE industry. Companies are also starting to recognise the family and home-life aspect of their employees and structuring their workforce with initiatives that allow a healthier balance.

CONCERN 5: Women are not thought to be assertive enough, and are therefore less likely to be considered for leadership roles.
In a time when staff engagement and retention is at the forefront of most companies’ human capital strategy and key to delivering success, women executives have proven to be stronger in leadership. Thus, fast-tracking of women executives into (top) positions are becoming more common and are happening across many multinational companies.


This feature is part of TTGmice December 2017/January 2018’s cover story, Graceful powers


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