Employers should note, however, that in traditional Chinese companies, training is seen not as a perk but as a message that “you’re a bad worker and we want to fix you.” One way to entice Chinese women into a training forum is to bring them together as a group. That will provide an environment of safety where they can share their personal challenges apart from male colleagues.
The payoff will be apparent. Ambitious Chinese women are astonishingly loyal to employers who respond to their needs. Despite a recent Booz & Co. study, “The Next Management Crisis in China: Developing and Retaining Highly Skilled Young Managers,” conducted in 2008, asserting that securing and retaining top talent is a “major, persistent problem,” CWLP survey respondents display significant levels of commitment: 88 percent of Chinese women consider themselves very loyal to their employers and 76 percent are willing to “go the extra mile.”
As China’s educated women catch up to and, in some cases, exceed their male counterparts in academic credentials, they bring a rich diversity of opinion and a keen sense of the consumer marketplace to their employers. That marketplace is increasingly dominated by women. Female earnings in emerging markets are growing twice as fast as male earnings, and women now control two-thirds of all consumer spending. When translating product development and marketing strategy into emerging markets, the mandate to “think global and act local” in pragmatic terms means “hire more women.”
Women are also key to connect with the mother lode of growth: the small-to-medium business market. “The SMB market in emerging markets is the market,” said one senior manager with a global technology firm. “We’re servicing small entrepreneurial companies, and 33 percent of them in Asia are owned by women. If we want to sell into that market, we’ve got to understand who those women are and how they reflect on the marketplace.”