A study of women executives in the insurance industry
Lim, Sock Hsien
Date of Issue1992
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
The battle of the sexes is never over, in fact, is never more intensely fought than in this age of money- and power-driven society. How much women have established in obtaining equal rights is a question close to our hearts and one we will be involved with in the near future. Singapore's success as an international financial center is a story proudly told around the world. With the maturity of the banking sector, the focus now is shifting to the development of the insurance industry. The overall population in the insurance industry, with the exclusion of insurance agents, is dominated by female employees. Being the first students to graduate from a business degree, we find it especially intriguing to include in our report aspects regarding female executives in the insurance industry in Singapore. The objectives are to derive whether .discrimination against women exists, the wage gap, if any, between male and female employees of the same level, how women are coping with such inequalities and how they manage career and family at the same time. Interviews were conducted with male and female executives of leading insurance companies to give a personal feel to our report For the female executives, questions were asked regarding their experiences and views on the various topics to be discussed in the report proper. The male executives provided an interesting insight · into How men regard their female counterparts. Interviewees all belong to the executive level and statistics derived are exclusive of insurance agents. References are often made to the international climate followed by the local context so as to provide a more vivid picture of how women around the world are faring and hence, enabling a comparison to be made. The Census of Population 1990, newspaper reports and books on working women provide good sources of information. These references, together with the interviews conducted in the local insurance industry, form the basis of our report. The bibliography, at the end of our report, carries the names of these references which are also indicated alongside the relevant sections of the body of the report. The main context of our report is made up of several topics. All of them are related to a working woman's life: her family and career, the way society reacts to her ambitions and the opinions of her superiors and male counterparts. We also probe the issue of discrimination of women at work and in income. A summary of these topics is set out in the first chapter - The Introduction. Besides compiling and consolidating the information gathered, statistical data of both international and local samples are analysed too. When we drew conclusions based on these findings, we tried to be fair and objective in our interpretations. The Conclusion of our report highlighted one of the focuses of our project, and that is whether there is a wage gap between the income of male and female executives. On the average, female executives' income, ranging from $2492.58 to $3128.38, is less than the average income of the male executives which ranges from . $3168.52 to $4186.74. But the significance of this discrepancy has to be reduced due to the fact that the mean age of the female executives interviewed is between 32 to 35 and that of the male executives interviewed is between 36 to 41. This age difference accounted partly for the wage gap. We have deduced from our findings that the major problem working women face is the trying efforts of balancing family and career. Women find it a strain coping with both responsibilities that demand full commitment Resulting in them being incompetence for both work and family. Therefore recommendations are made to ease women's burden at home. Building "granny" flats and more childcare centres will solve the problem of children needing to be looked after. The growing number of unmarried women is a cause for concern as it will lead to a diminishing population. The solution comes in the way of encouraging women to participate in more social activities. For women to work under an improved environment and be able to pursue a career without having much to worry, society must do its part to change the traditional attitudes that place working women at a disadvantage. We hope through our report a better understanding of working women's difficulties can be achieved Society will be aware of its influence on the success of career women and therefore be able to lend a helping hand Only when women are given a chance to compete fairly with their male counterparts can the society creates a healthy environment for the best to realize their potential and serve to the benefits of the country.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University