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HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Only 2 in 5 firms in Singapore adhere to diversity and inclusion policies: report

The number of women in leadership teams also dipped from 30% to 29% in 2019.

Whilst 57% of companies in Singapore have put diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies into place in 2019 from 2018’s 53%, the number of employers stating that these policies were ‘well adhered to’ dropped from 29% in 2018 to 18% in 2019, according to Hays Asia Salary Guide 2019 report.

The report, which analysed salary and recruiting trends based on responses from Hays Asia operating markets in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore, found that the Lion City has seen an increase of overseas candidates employed in its companies, from 19% in 2018 to 28% in 2019.

“As the diversity of a company is known to translate to greater creativity and innovation, it is great that companies are putting more policies in place,” says Grant Torrens, Regional Director of Hays Singapore. “But it is alarming to see that the adherence of policies is falling, and it is essential that employers look into tactics that ensure that their policies are not only implemented, but also followed.”

The report also noted that the city state is seeing a slight decline of the percentage of women in management positions. Whilst employers in the recent survey said that women made up 29% of their leadership teams, the figure is down slightly from 2018’s 30%.

Also read: Women now take up one-third of Singapore senior leadership teams: study

Nevertheless, Singaporean companies were still found to be the most likely to have diversity policies in place, followed by Japan (56%), Malaysia (49%) and mainland China (47%). Across Asia, slightly more than half or 52% of companies implement diversity policies, which represents a marginal rise from 2018’s 51%.

Meanwhile, more than three quarters or 76% of employers in Singapore were found to offer flexible working options. Home or remote working was observed to be the most common option provided by employers (49%), followed by flexi-time –– in which they are able to change work hours outside of "core" business periods ––, and informal flexible working at an employees’ line manager's discretion.

“Whilst flexible working practices can be enjoyed by all staff, regardless of gender, the ability to work from home and flexible working hours are particularly advantageous for working mothers, enabling them to balance family obligations with their careers,” Grant commented. “By extending these options further, employers can see even greater improvement in diversity operating in the upper echelons of organisations, thus enhancing innovation, improving staff retention and attraction rates, as well as encouraging new role models for the next generation of a diverse profile of managers.”  

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