How to ask for a promotion when there is gender preference?

當職場待遇存在性別差異,如何爭取晉升機會?

Being promoted is one of the important milestones in advancing up the corporate ladder. Yet, to the reality of working world what are the critical factors in getting promoted: by completing a specific task, accumulating enough years of experience, or simply wait your turn?

There are always times like these when you think of your career path and wondering of your chances of getting a promotion. If you are working for a good boss, he or she will communicate your progress and the likelihood of getting a promotion. However, not all workplaces provide equal promotion and career advancement opportunities. There are even workplaces that practise gender preference when it comes to promotion.

how to ask for a promotion when there is gender preference infographic

The recently concluded 2018 Gender Equality report by jobsDB and JobStreet.com canvassing 6,630 employees across Hong Kong and Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) revealed that there are more male respondents (50%) who received job promotion compared to their female counterparts (42%).

Findings from the report disclosed that in Hong Kong, more female (46%) received job promotion than male (44%). In contrast, Indonesia has the highest gender gap when it comes to promotion, where 59% male received promotion compared to only 47% female – a stark 12% gender gap in job promotion opportunities.

Employees of both genders in Malaysia and Singapore received the most equal job promotion opportunities where gender gap is only at 1%.

The survey shows that across the region there is a definite leaning toward male centric leadership with 53% respondents reporting that their company leadership roles are largely filled by men. This is most apparent in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong, where male representation in leadership roles are the highest compared to other countries, at 60%, 54% and 51% respectively.

Moving on up: Asking for a promotion when you have the right attitude

Asking for a promotion can be one of the most stressful experiences in your career life. You have to be well prepared, doing all the right things to help ensure that the answer will be positive. The questions below will get you started.


1. Are you competent?

A competent leader feels a strong sense of duty towards the organization and acts the role accordingly. Great leaders know that there is great value in being consistently competent. Therefore focus on your strength; it is not about being exceptional. If co-workers view you as competent, they are more likely to respect and collaborate with you. If bosses see your competency, it will carry a lot of weight when the company is making staffing decisions.

Be adaptable, not rigid.


2. Are you committed?

Leadership is not only about you, it is about the people you are leading. Good leaders notice commitment and strong leaders connect with employees. They do not want to see an employee who is “in” one day and “out” the next. Leaders like to promote from within, especially those that have shown they are “all in.” Make sure to start with good attendance habit, always volunteer to help with new projects and offer helps to your boss and co-workers whenever time permits. You will be inevitably known as a team player and an individual that colleagues want to work with.

Be a team player, not a lone ranger.


3. Are you courteous?

The most important factor in whether you will get promoted is not about experience – it’s the right attitude. It is amazing today how many employees lack common manners; a lot of them are viewed as rude and inconsiderate. Effective leaders know the importance of treating people fairly and with respect. Good leaders will not only focus on customers but also fellow employees. Consistently treating people with courtesy and politeness could be a step towards the next level.

Be humble, not arrogant.


Setting the footpath: Asking for a promotion in 5 simple steps

Once you have the right attitude, work on the steps to identify the opportunities for growth and to pitch for a promotion. Essentially merely working hard is not the key factor in asking for a promotion, it is all about understanding the process well enough to take the right steps. Here are the top tips to master: 


1. Plan ahead

You want your boss to know you are taking the job promotion seriously, support your case by gathering information to demonstrate that you are worthy of a promotion and how are you qualified to perform in the new role. List your key accomplishments, achievements and contributions as specific as possible, including important projects you have worked on.


2. Conduct market research

Do your research well before the meeting; you may want to find out details about how much a position similar to the one you are pitching pays in the market. Try to obtain salary information from more than one market survey resource which is easily available online. It is best to know your worth but do not mention or negotiate for your pay until you have been offered the promotion.


3. Time it right

There will never be a perfect time when it comes to asking for a promotion and getting the timing right is the key to success here. You do not want to approach your boss when everyone is too busy and stressed out all over the place. It is always best to have the conversation when your boss is more relaxed and has time in hand to engage in the discussion.


4. Request a meeting

Now that you have decided upon timing, you must tell your boss that you would like to meet with him for a career conversation to discuss your performance and potential. You need to address to your boss that you are taking the subject seriously and you expect him to do the same.


5. Proper follow up

It is unlikely that your boss will offer you the promotion during the discussion or he will likely want to think about it and perhaps consult the management if the new role is available. Make sure you know what will happen next and by when to follow up the case.


Put simply, there are many difficult conversations you are going to have throughout your career life. This conversation might be awkward to start but it certainly is well deserved. Even if you don’t get a “yes” on the first try, putting yourself out there will pay off in the long run!

This article is either written or edited by jobsDB HK. If you would like to publish it on other website or publication, please contact us by email: [email protected]. jobsDB reserves the right to take legal action against any person that infringes the copyright.

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