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Power women

Top female executives from major local enterprises on mandatory gender quotas, equal opportunities and jobseekers' attitudes

Adrienn Lovro

Director, ABLON Kft

 

1. What is your stand on the introduction of quotas in the private sector to increase women's participation on boards?

I don’t think that mandatory quotas help to make a better decision on whether a candidate is more talented and suitable for a job/position. The process with increased participation of women has already started, although it takes more time than it does/did with female top managers, and the introduction of mandatory quotas would only accelerate this process.

2. Do you think there is a need for a regulatory system or should companies take these steps voluntarily? Why?

My choice would be voluntarism.

3. What is the best way to ensure balanced boards? What suggestion do you have other than the above solutions?

As I have said earlier, I don’t necessarily feel the need for boardroom equality.

4. How do you see female jobseekers' attitude?

It is getting increasingly alike to that of male jobseekers. In terms of commitment and loyalty, women outperform men. It is a matter of opinion whether this process is healthy in the long run. What is true though, is that men long more for rank and acknowledgement resulting from boardroom position than women.

 

Ilona Jankovich

General Manager, Randstad Hungary Kft

 

1. What is your stand on the introduction of quotas in the private sector to increase women's participation in boards?

I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I see few women on boards and I agree that something should be done to increase their participation. I personally would not like to be appointed only because I am a woman.

2. Do you think that there is a need for a regulatory system or should companies take these steps voluntarily? Why?

I think companies should take this step voluntarily because they should be able to appoint the best candidates irrespective of whether somebody is a man or a woman.

3. What is the best way to ensure balanced boards? What suggestion do you have other than the above solutions?

Very active and supportive career development should be the driver to get enough women in the positions just under the board so that there are women to choose from if there are board positions.

4. How do you see female jobseekers' attitude?

Women in general find it more important to have a life-work balance (especially if they have a family.) They also often have more self-awareness and if they get a career opportunity, they really think about whether they want to do it or can do it. Many women are more driven by the content of their job and by the environment than by power or money. This leads them to be usually less interested in top jobs. Of course, there is also a smaller group that is very motivated and capable of making a career and taking positions with big responsibility.

My personal experience is that being a woman is not a disadvantage but an advantage in doing business and reaching your career goals. I see some very talented women around me and my advice is that if you have the ambition, really go for it!

 

Tammy Nagy-Stellini

Managing Director, Hays Hungary

 

1. What is your stand on the introduction of quotas in the private sector to increase women's participation in boards?

I believe that having a mix of genders creates a healthier business. We all know that what seems obvious to a woman is not obvious to a man and vice versa. Genders should complement each other. I realize this will create more challenges due to differences of opinion, but this is what drives a business to success.

2. Do you think that there is a need for a regulatory system or should companies take these steps voluntarily? Why?

It would be ideal to have it voluntarily but in reality companies are concerned that women will leave the business for a length of time, especially to bring up children. As a leader myself, I can relate to this, though it depends on how it is approached from both sides. If a senior person intends to stay home for three years, which is possible in Hungary, this will affect the business and measures need to be taken to ensure the business continues to run smoothly. If a senior person is willing to find solutions and the company is flexible in turn, then a mutually beneficial outcome can be reached. What I have noticed in Hungary is that there is a tendency for women take advantage of the '3-year protected law' against their employer, rather than seeing it as a country benefit and trying to find a solution that is mutually beneficial for both parties.

3. How do you see female jobseekers' attitude?

When you sit in a room of top managers, you can normally see very clearly that men outnumber women. I believe women are firstly taught to believe that striving for the higher echelons of the corporate ladder is beyond them and therefore from a younger age do not tend to set themselves these goals. Work-life balance is very much an issue in Hungary and women are struggling to juggle their families and careers, given that flexible work options and alternative job contracts are limited.

Given this shortage of options, female jobseekers are sometimes faced with having to balance cleverly between career and family depending on which stage they are at in their lives. This also has an impact on confidence and their expectations towards employers.

+ Hays investigates this topic in greater detail in its recently launched first edition of the Hays Journal, entitled ‘Balance on the Board’, which examines the progress being made in improving gender diversity at board and senior management level across the world.