KPMG, a leading provider of audit, tax, and advisory services in Saudi Arabia, released “The Power of Women in Family Business” publication, sharing different perspectives of women leaders in the Kingdom and discussing their challenges, opportunities, and successes working in their family business. The publication came as a joint project between KPMG Private Enterprise & Family Business and the firm’s Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (IDE) team, and was based on fourteen extensive interviews with women leaders in family businesses.
The publication put the insights into four themes, which emerged during the interviews conducted: the role of women in family business, leadership styles, sustainability and succession, unique opportunities and mandatory legislation that affects women’s opportunities within the business.
“Our overarching goal is to understand more about the impact changing demographics have on women in family businesses and their influence on the success of their businesses and their families. This publication provides enlightening and encouraging insights, especially for women in family business,” commented Kholoud Mousa, Partner and Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Equity at KPMG Professional Services.
According to the publication, mentorship and networking are essential components of professional success, regardless of gender. In Saudi Arabia, with the increasing participation rates of women in the workforce, finding a mentor, especially a female mentor, can be a daunting task. Women who were the first to enter the workforce and work in family businesses have gone through many challenges and are strategically placed to manage this dilemma.
Nevertheless, most women interviewed have agreed that the correct mentor may sometimes be critical to getting management and leadership roles within the family business particularly.
“It can be difficult, especially for women new to the workforce in Saudi Arabia, to find a female mentor. It is thus incumbent upon existing women leaders to seek out promising young women who could use the help of a mentor but may not know how to find one.” Said Buthainah Albaity, Director, Private Enterprise & Family Business at KPMG Professional Services.
She stated that these women bring about transformation in their organizations and society at large by becoming role models and mentors for younger women who will contribute to the future talent pool.
According to referenced KPMG Women’s Leadership Study, 67% of women reported that they would learn the most important lessons about leadership from other women. Hence, they trust that engaging with female leaders will assist them.
“Women worldwide want to freely communicate with like-minded businesswomen in similar positions who wish to develop and thrive. They feel that such participation will enable them to exchange ideas and build relationships,” Albaity said.
The publication also discusses leadership and management styles and concludes that every individual has a unique approach to leadership, but there are no distinct differences in the characteristics of a leader between men and women. Although personalities differ, the attributes of a leader are shared by all leaders.
It also touches up upon equal chances, pay, and promotion which enables female leaders to grow and prosper driven by their desire. Additionally, family businesses with diverse board members provide tremendous value to the firm and the market since they diversify in gender, ethnicity, and age, allowing them to have a collective experience with additional value. “More women entering leadership positions at family businesses normalizes the idea of having women in C-suite roles,” concluded Kholoud Mousa. “Such an environment spreads into non-family businesses and opens the door for other women to assume leadership positions.”