Scania Siam takes lead on equality
15 APRIL 2021
Thailand has more women in leading positions than most countries. At Scania Siam, half of the managers are women, and two thirds of the executive board.
According to Grant Thornton’s “Women in Business 2020” Thailand has 32% females in leading professional roles, which is higher than the global average of women in top management. “We evaluate people with regard to their competence, but also put effort in finding not only the right candidate, but someone who represents a wider scope of diversity,” says Scania Siam’s Managing Director Stina Fagerman.
Something that has paved the way for women in Thailand is the country’s first female Prime Minister in the early 2010’s, and several initiatives from the private sector. This shaped an environment where gender is not an issue for gaining a top position in most areas. “It is so important to reach the tipping point. It needs to be more common to have female employees, managers and directors. The quantity is vital. It needs to be so many women that it isn’t considered something out of the ordinary.”
The first female MD
That Stina is MD has created curiosity. “I’m a minority, gender wise, when MD’s from international companies gather. Employees comment that it’s exciting and encouraging to have a female Managing Director, since I’m the first one here. I’m convinced that it sends value signals and I hope I can be an inspiration for others within Scania as well as outside.”
She has been a part of the company for long. Her journey began as a trainee, and after working in Sweden and Switzerland, she has taken on Asia. “I believe female leaders create a positive ripple effect that encourages women to apply for higher positions. We have diverse teams with a strong performance,” she says, as Scania Siam has 48,5% female managers overall and 68% in the executive board. They appear in previously male dominated areas in the automotive industry, such as Workshop-, After Sales-, and Facility Management as well as Sales Directorship.
Bangkok-born Umaporn Nivatvitit is CFO at Scania Siam. When she started at Scania in 2005 as Accounting & Financial Manager, she choose not only to take on a larger international company, but also a completely new industry. It came as no surprise when she was promoted to CFO in 2016. “The greatest part of my job is that I can be both a service supplier, an expert and a controller all in one. To add value to our customers, improve their profitability and ensure that our own business continues to grow.”
She believes Thailand to be diverse, where different cultures flourish and religions vary. “At Scania Siam, we seek to achieve a mix, not only in gender but also in terms of experience, age and culture. This contributes to the result and profitability.” What Umaporn has noticed is that currently at Thai universities, men and women take on Bachelor degrees to the same extent, but for a Master degrees, the number of female students are slightly higher. There is also no area where women are not present. “This might be one reason women are gaining ground professionally, with a high ratio of female managers.” Another reason might well be the closeness to the family that defines Thai culture. To have grandparents helping out with younger children is common, and enables more people to have an income of their own.
Stina concludes: “After 14 years within Scania it is the first time I work in an environment with such a balanced gender mix and I am sure that it contributes to the creative working ambience, high score in the employee satisfaction barometer and is a good foundation for sustainable good results.”
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