MORE and more Southeast Asian women today are keen on strengthening further their digital competency, revealed a new study.
Singapore-based She Loves Data (SLD), a global nonprofit organization focused on creating equal opportunity pools for women in the growing data economy, partnered with Milieu Insight to conduct a regional consumer survey that gathered views on learning pathways of the labor market.
Based on its results, 87 percent, or over eight in 10 females in the region, are interested in taking courses to hone their professional skills.
Academic-wise, information technology/computing/programming emerged as one of their top three preferred professional programs of study, as 33 percent of them showed interest in this field.
The main motivators for the female populace in the region to enroll in a professional course this year are the desire to improve their job performance (59 percent), increase job prospects/employability (44 percent), and make the most of their free time (39 percent).
“This highlights the importance placed on personal and professional development,” said Dr. Antarika Sen, senior researcher at Milieu Insight.
The report, on the other hand, indicated that nearly eight in 10 of the female workers in the region prefer that career programs are taught virtually.
“It’s interesting to also find out that 79 percent prefer online professional courses, which shows that it’s vital for organizations to provide accessible and supportive ecosystems to help women upskill and advance in their careers,” she bared.
Meanwhile, the employment transition trend continues as 44 percent of employees in Southeast Asia still want to make a shift in their professions within the next five years.
“We’re currently facing a dynamic job market, reflected in our study where 25 percent and 17 percent of women in the region have changed occupations or industries respectively in the past year,” she noted.
THE research findings vary per country, depending on the current labor situation and available skills set of the workers.
In Singapore, for instance, data and digital analytics are among the most sought after courses by the women population (38 percent).
The survey, however, showed that women-employees in the city-state lagged behind their neighbors in terms of average familiarity with digital marketing (five percent versus 16 percent indicated “very familiar”).
“Additionally, over five in 10 women in Singapore find industry-recognized qualifications as a key deciding factor, further emphasizing the need for organizations to provide viable pathways for women’s professional growth,’’ Sen said.
For whatever reasons, more than half (57 percent) of Indonesian workers considered taking different jobs from now on until 2028.
The entrepreneurial spirit was high among women aged 35 years and above in Thailand (48 percent) and the Philippines (43 percent), where almost half desired to upgrade their skills to pursue their forays in the business world by putting up their own entity.
Pushing for gender equality
THE goal of achieving parity between men and women by 2030 is not possible, per the latest data of the United Nations (UN).
Guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlighting women empowerment as a vital development objective, SLD aims to address the gender gap by creating fair chances for Eve’s tribe members in their career growth.
“As businesses across all industries embrace digital transformation, corporations and employers struggle to fill roles across all digital skills domains,” SLD Cofounder and Volunteering Chief Executive Officer Jana Marle-Zizkova said.
“We hope to narrow the digital competence gap with the new SLDxDigital training so women get their fair share of digital economy opportunities,” she added.
Beginning this month, this certification training program provides reskilling pathways to women with transferable skills in areas of digital innovation, digital analytics and data-driven digital marketing.
SLDxDigital is spread over three modules, each lasting for four weeks. The curriculum is prepared and taught by experienced industry professionals.
Training materials are reviewed by the Advisory Board with Georges Mao from Meta as board chairman, David Dubois from INSEAD, and together with SLD’s Zizkova and Dr. Priyanka Dwivedi.
Classes are held on the web every Saturday to ensure participation of career women. Upon successful completion of every module, participants will receive a digital certificate.
Dwivedi, who is also program advisor for SLDxDigital and research fellow affiliated to Anglia Ruskin University, pointed out that SLD creates a secure space for women to learn and networking.
“Peer learning is recognized as one of the most potent means of impactful learning. Networking builds social capital that may translate into mentorship, referrals, and sponsorship opportunities in the future,” she explained.
“In doing so, these communities hold great promise to facilitate the corporates’ diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives by increasing the representation of women in tech roles and building a talent pool of skilled women for promotions to senior roles,” she added.
SLD long-term objective is to give a supportive professional network to establish a solid pipeline of women leaders who are prepared to enter the C-suites and board rooms, said Zizkova.
“In response to the global talent shortage crisis and under-representation of women in many industries, we hope both the private and public sector can take an active role in supporting communities like She Loves Data as we seek to future-proof the workforce by training tech, digital and analytics
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