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女性也能享有外派工作机会吗?

Where are all the expat women?
女性也能享有外派工作机会吗?

When Jennifer Drabble decided to relocate to Johannesburg from her firm’s London headquarters, she knew adjusting to her first overseas assignment would be difficult.

当珍妮佛·德拉布尔(Jennifer Drabble)决定从公司的伦敦总部调到约翰内斯堡时,她知道要适应自己的第一份海外工作并非易事。

She started slowly, with travel to South Africa from her London home base, then took on a six month posting, and now plans to stay for a few years or more. A year later, the risky move has so far paid off for Drabble, now a data-driven product manager for Barclays Africa Group. She has a year’s worth of management experience, something most of her peers back home are still vying to get. What’s more, Drabble now counts local executives as mentors.

她并没有急于求成:从伦敦搬到南非后,她先是在那里工作了6个月,现在准备再待上几年,甚至更长时间。一年后,当初所冒的风险给德拉布尔带来了回报,她如今已经是巴克莱非洲集团(Barclays Africa Group)的数据驱动产品经理了。她获得了一年的管理经验,这是身在伦敦的多数同事梦寐以求的。不仅如此,德拉布尔还把当地的高管当成了导师。
 

珍妮佛·德拉布尔得到了巴克莱的一份外派工作,这已经成为了她的优势

“The exposure and accelerated opportunities that I’ve had have been phenomenal,” she says.

“我获得了巨大的曝光和晋升机会。”她说。

But as a woman thriving on an overseas expat assignment, Drabble is in the minority. Despite increased interest from women, the number of female executives being offered and taking overseas positions remains relatively small compared to male counterparts.

但随着越来越多的女性参与外派工作,德拉布尔这样的人已经不再是少数。尽管女性对这些工作的兴趣逐步提升,但相比于男性而言,获得海外工作机会的女性高管人数仍然相对较少。

“Women are just as likely to accept offers to work abroad, but they are simply less likely to be offered the opportunity to take on these roles” by their firms, says Cynthia Emrich, a vice president at Catalyst, a New York-based global nonprofit that promotes women in the workplace.

“女性接受海外工作机会的意愿跟男性一样强,只是她们获得的机会太少了。” Catalyst 副总裁辛西娅·艾姆里奇(Cynthia Emrich)说,这是一家位于纽约的国际非营利组织,主要任务是提升女性的职场地位。

Only about 17% of women take international assignments compared to 28% of men, according to a 2012 report from Catalyst that studied high-potential employees from top business schools. Despite having the same willingness to take on a global role as their male counterparts, 64% of women say they were never offered a move abroad, compared with just 55% of men, the report showed.

根据“Catalyst” 2012年发布的报告,大约只有17%的女性获得了海外工作机会,男性则达到28%。报告显示,尽管跟男性有着同样的海外工作意愿,但64%的女性表示,她们从来没有获得这样的机会,而男性的这一比例仅为55%。

‘Benevolent sexism’

善意的性别歧视


Even as companies say they want to develop the careers of their female high-potential employees through mentorship programs or leadership workshops, many are still not encouraging them to take on high-profile global roles. Many women are passed over for roles that require relocation because of the perceived difficulty of them convincing their trailing spouse or in the expense and complication of moving an entire family abroad.

即便企业都表示,他们希望通过导师计划和领导力研习班提升有潜力的女员工的职业前景,但很多公司还是不鼓励她们担任引人注目的全球职位。很多公司在分配外派职位时都会直接把女性过滤掉,因为他们认为女员工很难说服自己的配偶随之搬到海外,也很难应对因此产生的各种困难。

“Some firms assume that family responsibilities or obligations are obstacles holding back women in their careers, but not men in theirs,” Emrich says.

“有的公司认为,家庭责任和义务是阻止女性职业发展的障碍,但他们却不会以这种眼光看待男性。”艾姆里奇说。

There’s also a misguided belief among some companies that women have spouses excelling in their careers who won’t want to move. All together, it’s led too many companies to assume global career moves are less important or less desirable to women, she says.

有的公司还持有一种颇具误导性的观点,他们认为,一些女员工的配偶拥有更好的职业,因此不愿前往海外工作。她表示,在这些因素的共同作用下,导致很多公司认为海外工作对女性的重要性不大,或者吸引力不强。

“A kind of ‘benevolent sexism’ can kick in where decision makers mentally survey a pool of high potential talent and — whether consciously or unconsciously — make assumptions,” Emrich says.

“当决策者从内心考察一系列比较有潜力的人才时,就会产生一种‘善意的性别歧视’,而且还会有意无意地作出假设。”艾姆里奇说。

To ramp up opportunities, some companies, such as ThoughtWorks, a global software consulting firm with 40 offices, are putting more pressure on hiring managers and executives to offer international roles to both men and women.

为了增加女性的机会,一些公司会对人事经理和高管施压,要求他们任命海外工作任务时均衡考虑男性和女性员工。拥有40个办事处的国际软件咨询公司“ThougtWorks”便是其中之一。

“One of the critical things is not just assuming [women] are not going to be interested because of family obligations,” says Rebecca Parsons, ThoughtWorks’ chief technology officer. “We’re being deliberate when it comes to not just thinking about the usual suspects.”

“其中的一大关键是不要一味假设女性会因为家庭责任而对这类工作没有兴趣。” ThougtWorks 首席技术官丽贝卡·帕森斯(Rebecca Parsons)说,“我们会尽量不局限于常规候选人。”

In 2012, the firm put more women through senior leadership programs than in previous years, and added two women-only programs to the leadership pipeline, deemed a first step to sending them abroad and ultimately take on global roles. A recent changeover in India-based executive positions meant one man and one woman was chosen for each opening in a sort of “conscious shift,” she adds.

2012年,该公司参加高级领导力项目的女员工数量超过以往几年,并且新增了两个专为女性开设的领导力项目。这便迈出了第一步,可以借此将女员工派往海外,并使之最终担任国际职位。她补充道,在最近对印度高管职位进行调整后,一位男性和一位女性分别得到了一个空缺的职位,展现出了“意识变化”。

Pursuing geographic mobility

追求外派


Many firms are still not interested in using global roles as a way to integrate female leaders into succession planning, adds Catalyst’s Emrich. Despite evidence that global roles can often fast track an executive career, there’s little support in the way of relocating families, addressing individual concerns or providing opportunities for a trailing spouse. For instance, companies still tend to assume that women will ‘lean out’ when they have kids so they focus more on males who they feel they’ll get a return on investment from as the male career progresses.

Catalyst 的艾姆里奇补充道,很多公司仍然不希望将海外职位作为一种将女性管理者融入继任计划的方式。尽管有证据表明,海外职位往往是晋升为高管的快速通道,但在支持随迁家庭、解决个人担忧或为随迁配偶提供工作机会方面,企业却并没有提供太大帮助。例如,企业仍然认为女性有了孩子后会有所“退缩”,希望把更多精力放在自己的丈夫身上,从而通过丈夫的职业发展获得回报。

“Sometimes it’s as simple as putting in place a policy or practice of asking — not assuming — both male and female high potential employees whether they’re geographically mobile,” Emrich says. While 60% of multinational firms say they want to create future company leaders through offering roles that require mobility, only 22% say they are looking to increase the amount of women in those same roles, according to a 2015 study from accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“有时候其实只要落实一项政策措施即可:不要想当然,而是要亲自询问有潜力的男性和女性员工,了解他们是否愿意接受外派工作。”艾姆里奇说。根据会计师事务所普华永道2015年发布的报告,虽然60%的跨国公司希望通过提供外派工作来培养未来的领导者,但只有22%愿意增加相同职位上的女性数量。

At ThoughtWorks, Parsons says there’s no company quota for sending women abroad. Instead, the company is focused on having one-on-one conversations with female executives who are considering relocating globally. Some have negotiated a longer timeline for relocating family or asked for so-called flybacks to visit family back home.

帕森斯表示,ToughtWorks没有设定女性的外派名额。相反,该公司会与有意到海外工作的女高管展开一对一的沟通。有人希望申请更长时间的搬家计划,或者要求所谓的“探亲假”,以便回家与家人团聚。

“A lot of it comes down to having the individual conversations around what kind of support they might need in taking the role,” says Parsons, who is based in Seattle in the US, but has spent time in global roles in the UK and Africa and now mentors female leaders within the company.

“很多类似的问题都需要展开一对一的沟通,以便确定她们可能希望获得什么样的支持才能接受这份工作。”帕森斯说。她目前位于美国西雅图,但曾经在英国和南非等地担任过国际职位,目前负责指导公司内部的女管理者。

Others are seeing a turning point. Even with the number of female executives working abroad stagnant, younger expat females are now equally split with male counterparts who start to live abroad. But 71% of millennial women say they want to work outside of their home country in their career, according to the PwC study.

还有人看到了转折趋势。即便在海外工作的女高管并没有增加,但年轻的外派女性却与男性数量相当。但根据普华永道的研究,有71%的千禧一代女性希望到海外工作。

With younger women moving in greater numbers, the hope is that the gender diversity of millennials living outside of their home country will trickle into the executive ranks, says Claire Tennant-Scull, head of content at the Forum for Expat Management, a London-based organisation that works with companies to promote expat hiring.

伦敦的外派管理人员论坛(Forum for Expat Management)是一家专门促进企业招募外派人员的组织,该组织内容主管克莱尔·特南特-斯库尔(Claire Tennat-Scull)表示,随着女员工的数量增多,千禧一代的性别多样性还将渗透到高管序列中。

“They are probably not old enough or experienced enough yet,” she said. In a few years, “there may be more expat women rising through the ranks.”

“他们或许不够老,经验也不够丰富。”她说。但几年之后,“可能会有更多外派女性员工得到晋升。”
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