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Meraki Executive Search & Consulting launches executive education programme

Hong Kong’s Female Talent Pipeline Study developed by The University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Business and Economics (HKU FBE) and Meraki Executive Search & Consulting, has unveiled that the departure of female talent from Hong Kong businesses is costing the city dearly.

Hong Kong companies stand to lose 24% of their female talent over the course of their careers, representing a huge opportunity cost (from 53% total workforce female representation to 29% at senior management level). Large organisations (with >500 employees) in particular are facing the greatest challenge – they are at risk of losing, on average, 30% of their female talent over the course of their careers (from 52% total workforce female representation to 22% at senior management level) resulting in a loss of more than half a million US Dollars, on average, per senior leader.


Kirti Lad, executive director of Meraki Executive Search & Consulting, said, “Nine out of every 10 Hong Kong women report barriers to reaching their career aspirations. From a lack of promotional opportunities in their companies / industries and not being recognised and valued, to the burden of family commitments.

“Hong Kong has some of the longest working hours in the world, presenteeism is rife and there is a lack of flexible or part-time roles in the city. In order to increase the participation of women in the workplace and to retain their skills and experience within the talent pool, we must rethink the structure of work – in terms of how, when and where employees work. Without concerted focus on managing the female talent pipeline, companies stand to merely reinforce the status quo, losing out on opportunities to challenge conventional thinking and drive innovation and business transformation.”

Large organisations employing more than 500 people in Hong Kong face the largest loss of female talent at the top level.  Large companies have an average of 22% women at senior management level, compared to small organisations (employing less than 50 people) with 61% female senior management representation. “Smaller companies in Hong Kong attract senior female talent who require greater flexibility and time,” suggested Lad.

Prof. Haipeng Shen, Associate Dean, Executive Education, The University of Hong Kong, commented, “At The University of Hong Kong, we see 54 per cent women at the undergraduate level, yet despite the abundance of talent in Hong Kong, this study shows the female representation at senior management level in companies across the city, stands at only 29 per cent. Companies benefit from the wealth of talent on offer in Hong Kong at entry to mid-level management, only to slowly lose female talent through the ranks as they drop out of the workforce, or seek greater flexibility and environments where their contribution is valued.”

In light of the recent findings, The University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Business and Economics (HKU FBE) in partnership with Meraki Executive Search & Consulting, have announced a new programme to enable organisations to develop, retain and motivate their high-potential female talent. As an extension of the Women’s Directorship Programme, the leading board governance programme, the new Women’s Development Programme serves to address the talent need at the management levels below the C-suite, serving to shore up the female talent pipeline and increase the number of women executives available to eventually take on the boardroom challenge.


“Companies that have at least 30 per cent gender diversity overall, outperform their less diverse counterparts in key leadership and business outcomes. In the disruptive era in which we operate, it is now more important than ever for companies to have innovative leaders who can challenge conventional thinking,” commented Lad. “To support future female leaders, Meraki and The University of Hong Kong have developed a programme to support high potential female talent during the transformation journey from mid to senior management.”

The Women’s Development Programme will provide tools to enable women to manage multiple competing priorities at work and home, ensuring they are best positioned for success. As Hong Kong’s Female Talent Pipeline Study shows, mid to senior level management is when most female executives are at risk of leaving the workforce, resulting in companies losing vast amounts of experience, insights and potential. The Women’s Development Programme serves to inspire, engage and open up new networks to support women as they advance in their careers.

This new six-day programme will kick off in September 2019, including teaching modules such as: Strategic leadership, negotiation and collaboration, strategies for future business, persuasive communication, managing your ecosystem, ethics and compliance. The programme is supported by a number of senior female role models including top female executives from Standard Chartered Bank and Walmart Asia with the intention of supporting high potential women. As Hong Kong’s Female Talent Pipeline Study demonstrated, Hong Kong is battling with a lack of role models, 59% do not have any inspirational figures in their lives.

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